I was in the mood for picture books, and when I went looking for one, I found four. (I was surprised I only found four). And when I started to really look at them, I realized they were all culturally based. And due to the shorter nature of them, it would be hard to write individual reviews, so here is a “Around the World ” in four books themed review. All are currently available and all are good reads and I will probably read the finished copies to find what I missed as all were read via online reading copies.
Let us start with Lunar New Year (Celebrations & Festivals) by Natasha Yim and Jingting Wang. This is a delightful book that helps us understand the Lunar New Year in simple, straight forward text. If you have read a lot about the theme of the Lunar New Year and its celebrations, you might know most or at least some of what is presented, but there are a few new items as well. The illustrations of Wang are sweet and pop on the page. They are solid, but not stuffy. This is a cozy book that is for children who already celebrate and for those new to the holiday.
I do not know about you, but I can understand Martina and her family woes, in Martina Has Too Many Tias. Now, I do not have too many aunts or even uncles, but as I once told someone, fifteen to twenty people was a small gathering for us. We can get loud and busy and sometimes it is overwhelming. Just like it is for Martina, who is not as boisterous as her tias. I can appreciate how she found a way to take some time for herself when this happens, in Emma Otyheguy’s picture book. Not to mention the busy and colorful art of Sara Palacios gives a whimsy element for this relatable theme.
In the style of The House that Jack Built, The Masjid Kamal Loves is a bouncy story about how a young Muslim boy finds joy on this special day. Ashley Franklin’s rhyming text allows us to partake in an event that is sacred and brings the community together. It is also a fun way to introduce the religious act to people who are not of the Muslim faith. The Art of Aaliya Jaleel continues this bouncing, colorful, world with minimal and important details. The colors were what I both liked and felt really captured things. The text and art is paired perfectly. As would Zain’s Super Friday by Henna Khan with this text (previous reviewed)
And finally, Lali’s Flip-Flops. Farhana Zia’s picture book is not like the others where it covers an overall look at the culture, but has the feel of a folktale and gives an idea of what one young girl probably would deal with in one situation. Lali works to earn a coin, and when she is off to the market to spend it, she runs into special friends, asking for something at the market. But when she returns she has seemingly forgotten them. Stephanie Fizer Coleman’s art is colorful and expressive, and allows the world of one little girl to be seen by all. The market scenes are clever and the home of Lali lush.