Jordan's Queen Rania becomes a bestselling children's author

by "It all began with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…and it ended with a hummus sandwich."

That's how her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan starts The Sandwich Swap, her children's picture book which has just become a New York Times bestseller.

In the story – Rania's fourth tale to be published – the sandwiches provide the link into a story of two friends from different backgrounds, who after they swap their lunches, discover they have more in common than they realised.

The mum-of-four, well known for her work promoting cross-cultural dialogue, hopes the book will teach young people about the values of understanding and compassion.

And this week it shot straight to the top of the charts to become the number-one-selling children's picture book in the US, according to the Big Apple newspaper.

Set to celebrate her 40th birthday later this year, the queen was recently on the promotional trail in the United States.

In New York she met United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at UN headquarters, while elsewhere she also visited bookstores, read to children in schools and appeared on big-name talk shows, including Oprah and Good Morning America.

Queen Rania's share of proceeds from sales of the book – which she co-wrote with Kelly DiPucchio and features illustrations by Tricia Tusa – will go to Madrasati Jordan, an education initiative launched by the queen to renovate and better the learning environment in 500 state-run schools.

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