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ROOM FOR EVERYONE by Naaz Khan Kirkus Star


by Naaz Khan ; illustrated by Mercè López

Pub Date: Oct. 26th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-5344-3139-3
Publisher: Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum

There's a lot to love about Zanzibar, and so much of it is squeezed into this short trip but big (and crowded!) adventure.

As the daladala—a type of minibus common in Tanzania—heads to the beach, sibling passengers Musa and Dada are initially overwhelmed by all the strays the driver picks up along the way. A bicyclist, a goatherd, vendors, farmers, and all their accompanying wares all need a helping hand, and though Musa protests, Dada, who’s older, continually insists that there’s always space to provide that help. This lovely sentiment literally doesn’t sit well with Musa, as he’s pushed to the daladala floor and must negotiate space with animals, produce, ornate kitenge umbrellas, and eventually even a gaggle of deep-sea divers. There’s a lot of fun to be had as lyrical rhymes and mixed-media illustrations—including acrylics, inks, graphite, and digital pieces—make the growing menagerie of passengers feel both vibrantly stylized and realistically depicted. East Africa is presented richly and distinctly in López’s dynamic artwork, but the overall experience of riding and building community on the daladala is not only accessible, but easily familiar to much of the world in this charming story.(This book was reviewed digitally.)

Khan and López take readers on a uniquely East African journey toward a global sense of compassion and inclusion.

(glossary, note) (Picture book. 3-8)