Within a family, an object can take on special significance, uniting generations and preserving heritage. Take, for instance, the bowl passed down from parent to child in Caren Stelson's true story, A Bowl Full of Peace, a reminder of what remains intact even after an atomic bomb blast.

In Dezh Azaad's book, the titular carpet gives a refugee Afghan family a piece of home that accompanies them wherever they go. Throughout the day, the carpet gives them a place to sit, to prepare and share food, to play, to listen to stories, and more.

Nan Cao's bright, bold pictures bring young readers right into the midst of the action, mostly real, sometimes imaginary. When the children play chess on the carpet, they're pictured as pushing around pieces more than twice their size, except for the toddler, who's riding atop the white knight piece. The rhyme scheme is pleasantly subtle:

"Rooks are fast, pawns are slower.
'Your king's stuck — this game is over!'
The carpet is for learning."

Yet the book also touches upon the suffering experienced by refugees: "our lives crushed by others' wars," the feeling of never belonging. What keeps them strong is the carpet, all it represents, and all that's shared upon it, including delicious Afghan cuisine made with freshly gathered basil, mint, dill, and parsley.

Dezh Azaad, an Afghan writer who has been a refugee his whole life, acknowledges that prejudice and misrepresentation of Afghans is not easy to take and that no one should ever have to get used to it. His book helps to "uncover the heart and true face of my — and all — people, so that children everywhere can live and learn in love, not fear."