Little Leila discovers that she is so much more than just “skinny arms and knobby knees.”
Leila is at her grandmother’s house for their weekly Friday family dinner. When Naani tells her, “Saffron is a good color for you,” a buoyant Leila goes on the lookout for other things to like about herself. That evening, Leila is delighted to discover that she and her aunt have the same smile. She also bursts with pride when everyone praises the curry she helped Naani make (with some cilantro from neighbor Miguel’s garden). Just before going home, Leila tries on Naani’s saffron-colored silk scarf and is surprised by how beautiful she looks in the mirror. Only then does she realize that “each and every part of me comes together to make me who I am.” While young children may need help understanding how Leila gets from A to B, there is much to love about this book. Guidroz’s sensory magic shines in the “clink clink” of Naani’s glass bangles and in her shimmering silk scarves “the color of lentils, bright and orange,” and “pomegranates, juicy and rosy.” Plus, Mirtalipova’s mixed-media illustrations expertly convey the vivacity and warmth of Leila’s family and their Pakistani culture. A glossary in the back provides pronunciations and definitions for Arabic and Urdu words included.
A glorious book that’s a feast for both eyes and ears, this story set in a multicultural context will ring true for children of all stripes. (Picture book. 4-8)