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Delicious and guaranteed to leave readers hungry for more helpings.

In this tale set in Australia, a girl and her grandmother demonstrate that it’s what comes out of the pot that matters.

Amira and Nana are entering their special cholent (a slow-simmering stew cooked overnight on Friday and eaten for lunch on Saturday, when observant Jews are forbidden to cook) in the “annual Best Cholent Competition Down Under.” As they add their ingredients—chicken, eggs, tomatoes, garlic—to the pot, the onlookers comment skeptically, “This is not a cholent.” That’s because the naysayers are accustomed to cholent made from beef, potatoes, barley, and beans. But Nana explains that this is a traditional recipe in her family that she’ll pass down to Amira. The next day, the judges are unanimous: “This is not a cholent…But it’s delicious! What is it?” Amira explains it is a cholent, an Iraqi one, a stew called t’bit or hamin, prepared for Shabbat lunch, like cholent, “but it smells and tastes like other languages and other lands.” The ecstatic judges ask for seconds; others follow suit and agree it’s the best cholent ever. This is a charming story about the beauty of honoring one’s culture even in the face of those who don’t understand. Sassoon closes with her own grandmother’s recipe for t’bit, as well as information on Australia’s Jewish population. The lively, colorful illustrations are delightful. Amira and Nana have light brown skin; background figures are diverse.

Delicious and guaranteed to leave readers hungry for more helpings. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: May 7, 2024

ISBN: 9781728486482

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Kar-Ben

Review Posted Online: March 9, 2024

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2024

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With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked...

From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl’s family and community as she walks around in “Mommy’s khimar,” or headscarf.

The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother’s khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl’s braids and twists “form a bumpy crown” under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a “hijab,” and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out “Sweet Jesus!” as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but “We are a family and we love each other just the same.” The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story’s joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist’s culture and enlighten readers who don’t.

With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group . (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: April 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5344-0059-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

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Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque.

Children welcome readers into different mosques to learn about varying activities and services that take place in them.

Though many different mosques and children are depicted, the voices call readers’ attention to the similarities among Muslim communities around the world. Yuksel highlights the community eating together; women, men, and children sharing the space and praying together; grandfathers thumbing their tasbihs; grandmothers reading the Quran; aunties giving hugs; children playing. The effect is to demonstrate that a mosque is more than just a building but rather a space where children and adults come together to pray, give, learn, and play. Joyful characters describe what happens in simple, poetic language: “In my mosque, the muezzin’s call to prayer echoes in the air. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends, linked like one long chain.” Aly’s bright illustrations pair well with Yuksel’s words, ending with a beautiful spread of children staring at readers, waving and extending their hands: “You are welcome in my mosque.” The variety of mosques included suggests that each has its own unique architecture, but repeating geometric patterns and shapes underscore that there are similarities too. The author’s note guides readers to her website for more information on the mosques depicted; they are not labeled, which is frustrating since the backmatter also includes a tantalizing list of famous mosques on every continent except Antarctica.

Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque. (glossary, sources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297870-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 12, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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