A delightful follow-up from a writer who understands children, family, and culture.

ON POINT

From the Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream series , Vol. 2

In this second installment of the Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream series, Zayd navigates challenging times on his new basketball team and changing relationships with both his best friend and his favorite uncle.

Pakistani-American fourth-grader Zayd has made it to the elite gold team, but now the team is losing games. His best friend, Adam, whom Zayd loves playing with, is losing interest in basketball and is acting different. Zayd’s uncle Mamoo is also less fun to be around; he’s at the center of plans for his upcoming wedding, which is all anyone at home talks about. The family holds planning meetings and dinners, and they travel out of state to shop for the wedding in Edison, a “Little Pakistan”–like town in New Jersey. When Adam misses basketball practice, the coach puts Zayd on point guard. Zayd is not sure he can do it, but the harder he works, the more his confidence and abilities grow. He even shares some lessons from basketball with his uncle and soon-to-be aunt about taking charge while being a team player. Khan stays firmly in Zayd’s perspective while keeping the many elements of his life—family, friends, and passions—in focus too. With just enough action to keep readers turning the pages and a sprinkle of age-appropriate realizations throughout, this small book is a great pick for elementary-age readers. Players on Zayd’s team are diverse; Adam is Jewish.

A delightful follow-up from a writer who understands children, family, and culture. (Fiction. 7-10)

Pub Date: May 29, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-1202-6

Page Count: 144

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2018

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A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape.

RAFI AND ROSI MUSIC!

From the Rafi and Rosi series

The fourth installment in Delacre’s early-reader series centers on the rich musical traditions of Puerto Rico, once again featuring sibling tree frogs Rafi and Rosi Coquí.

Readers learn along with Rafi and Rosi as they explore bomba, plena, and salsa in three chapters. A glossary at the beginning sets readers up well to understand the Spanish vocabulary, including accurate phoneticization for non-Spanish speakers. The stories focus on Rafi and Rosi’s relationship within a musical context. For example, in one chapter Rafi finds out that he attracts a larger audience playing his homemade güiro with Rosi’s help even though he initially excluded her: “Big brothers only.” Even when he makes mistakes, as the older brother, Rafi consoles Rosi when she is embarrassed or angry at him. In each instance, their shared joy for music and dance ultimately shines through any upsets—a valuable reflection of unity. Informational backmatter and author’s sources are extensive. Undoubtedly these will help teachers, librarians, and parents to develop Puerto Rican cultural programs, curriculum, or home activities to extend young readers’ learning. The inclusion of instructions to make one’s own homemade güiro is a thoughtful addition. The Spanish translation, also by Delacre and published simultaneously, will require a more advanced reader than the English one to recognize and comprehend contractions (“pa’bajo-pa-pa’rriba”) and relatively sophisticated vocabulary.

A welcome, well-researched reflection of cultural pride in the early-reader landscape. (Early reader. 7-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 17, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-89239-429-6

Page Count: 64

Publisher: Children's Book Press

Review Posted Online: July 28, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2019

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A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance.

MAYA AND THE BEAST

Brazilian surfer Gabeira offers a fictionalized version of her childhood with this story of an adventurous young girl who overcomes sexism and self-doubt to become a great athlete.

The inhabitants of the fishing village of Nazaré, Portugal, are in awe of a massive wave known as the Beast. A young villager named Maya has asthma and brings medicine with her wherever she goes; though shy, Maya finds fulfillment when moving her body during dancing, gymnastics, and swimming. Having grown up hearing about the Beast, she goes to see it for herself and is in awe of the massive wave, though she also notices boys surfing on it. Maya decides to try surfing, which her father encourages. The boys at the beach tell her surfing is no sport for girls, and she nearly believes them until a voice in a seashell tells her not to give up. Both text and illustrations offer a stirring account of Maya’s journey to surfing mastery. The Beast begins as a spectacle from afar, filling the page with its sheer scope. Maya is often framed within or beneath its crest, including a wonderful scene of her would-be hecklers watching dumbfounded as she joyously surfs ahead of them. Maya and her family are brown-skinned; for the most part, other residents of Nazaré range in skin color from tan to brown. In an author’s note, Gabeira describes growing up in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and, in 2007, setting a Guinness record for the largest wave ever surfed at Praia de Norte in Nazaré. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

A rallying cry for anyone looking for a strong example of perseverance. (Picture book. 7-10)

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-4197-6000-6

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Abrams

Review Posted Online: July 13, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2022

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