Informative and genuine, the book offers much to learn about the settings and situations of hijab.

UNDER MY HIJAB

A window into the world of a Muslim-American girl and the diverse women in her family and community.

A young, unnamed female narrator observes the women in her lives in public situations where they wear hijab and other situations where they do not, clearly showing when Muslim women who wear hijab transition into situations and places where they do not wear hijab. Khan connects in words the personality of each woman in and out of hijab. When Grandma is at work baking, “her hijab is carefully folded, / like the crusts on my favorite pies,” while “at home in her kitchen, / Grandma fixes her hair in a bun.” When she’s in her shared studio, an aunt’s hijab “towers up high, / pinned with a handmade jewel,” but at home the narrator can appreciate how her hair “is streaked pink and purple.” Jaleel’s illustrations pair well with Khan’s text, depicting some of the various ways hijab is styled. Though specific ethnicities are not mentioned, the family is multiracial, with the grandmother and father appearing black, a light-skinned mother and other female relatives, and friends with various skin tones. Women are also varied in ages and body shape. An endnote provides further information about hijab, what the word means, when women choose to wear it, why they choose to wear it, and that some women, like the author of the book, choose not to wear it.

Informative and genuine, the book offers much to learn about the settings and situations of hijab. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62014-792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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Though cheerful illustrations add some zest, this little prayer feels flat.

MY LITTLE PRAYER

Based on the lyrics of his song by the same name, Archuleta’s foray into picture books calls upon his musical roots as well as his faith.

The book is language-sparse, with most of the story told through Ugolotti’s illustrations. These depict a White child who dreams of playing soccer but must grapple with disappointment. When the unnamed protagonist, who presents male, is not picked to play for the soccer team, he befriends a Black child who presents female and who has also been left out of the game, due to injury. Their initial connection on the sidelines blossoms into a true friendship, proving to be a far richer outcome than the aspiring soccer star could have anticipated. Alongside the visual story runs a little prayer of gratitude thanking God for his presence, patience, and plan in the child’s life. The words are general, with no reference to either soccer or friendship: “Heavenly Father, I am grateful for your eternal presence. / I am learning to be patient and that you are really there.” Though the interracial mixed-gender friendship is cute, the overall prayer and plot are bland. This is useful to augment collections and bookshelves where Christian picture books are in high demand, but it does not stand out from the pack. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Though cheerful illustrations add some zest, this little prayer feels flat. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-952239-54-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bushel & Peck Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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The lofty symbolism of this allegorical tale may be above the comprehension level of literal-minded children.

GOOD GOOD FATHER

This Christian allegory presents a little bear who asks an all-powerful lion king for his help in solving the problems of other bear cubs.

Tucker is a cub who likes to help others, but his young friends have all sorts of deep-seated troubles, ranging from illness to hunger to aggression. So Tucker sets off on a journey to see the king, who lives in a hilltop castle “where the door was always open.” The bear cub wants to take along a “perfect gift” for the king to elicit his help, and in familiar fashion, he meets animals along the way who give him additional information about the king and items to take along as presents. Tucker takes all these items to the lion, who explains that as king he can fulfill these roles because he is a good father. The king returns to the town with Tucker, magically solving everyone’s problems with unexplained help and lots of love. Tucker concludes that the king is a “Good Good Father,” and Tucker’s seeking his help was the perfect gift. God is not mentioned in the text, and younger children will need an adult’s assistance in understanding the symbolic meaning of the lion and his multifaceted powers. Pleasant though unnuanced watercolor-and-pencil illustrations of appealing animal characters add some spunk to the story.

The lofty symbolism of this allegorical tale may be above the comprehension level of literal-minded children. (authors’ note) (Picture book/religion. 4-8)

Pub Date: Oct. 4, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-7180-8695-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Review Posted Online: Aug. 2, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2016

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