Entertain and educate – these books do both with beautiful illustrations and powerful tales…
by Lubjana Matin-Scammell
‘Little Glow’ by Katie Sahota and Harry Woodgate
THIS perfect book about the holiday season needs to be in every home. ‘Little Glow’ follows the title’s protagonist Little Glow on a journey across different festivals and family homes. Each page is a celebration from Eid, Christmas, Diwali, Hanukkah through to Chinese New Year.
The storybook is told through rhyme as we travel with Little Glow. It introduces readers to world religions and cultural festivals through the commonality and importance of light. It is a heart-warming story of how our differences make us also similar through the shared importance of celebrations and festivals.
‘Little Glow’ is beautifully illustrated with rich colour. We enter the homes of different families and share with them how they celebrate through food, religious objects and traditions.
I really enjoyed how we are on the journey with Little Glow, staring through the window and simultaneously experiencing the rich and amazing celebration. It is the type of book that we have all been looking for to introduce young children to different cultures.
‘Little Glow’ epitomises how a book can be successful in celebrating diversity, being representational, aptly capturing togetherness and also evoking peace and love around the world. The book is suitable for four year olds and upwards. ‘Little Glow’ is a great bedtime book to be read anytime of year.
‘Little Glow’ by Katie Sahota and Harry Woodgate, Owlet Press (October 2021)
‘The Best Diwali Ever’ by Sonali Shah and Chaaya Prabhat
GIVING us a peek into Ariana and her Diwali celebrations is at the centre of this tale. Ariana is excited about her favourite holidays, celebrating Diwali with her family and carrying out her favourite religious practices. However, things don’t always go to plan with her younger mischievous sibling Rafi around. This is a heart-warming picture book about the festival of lights and the religious traditions which take place during Diwali as seen through the eyes of a young girl. We learn about how Ariana is proud of her faith, culture and traditions and enjoys dancing, wearing colourful clothes, watching fireworks and taking part in the rangoli competition. It is a highly representational and fun book. It is very colourful with bright and rich images, perfectly capturing the magical celebration of Diwali and all the different ways it is celebrated.
As well as learning about some of the key ways Diwali is celebrated, we also learn about the different emotions, the importance of spending special holidays with the people you love and what it means to have a perfect holiday. It also comes with extra factual information on the back of the book explaining more about Diwali. This book will be enjoyed by all children.
‘The Best Diwali Ever ’ by Sonali Shah and Chaaya Prabhat, Scholastic (September 2021)
‘Sunflower Sisters’ by Monila Singh Gangotra and Michaela Dias-Hayes
TACKLING colourism and prejudice is this book about two friends whose sisters are getting married. Amrita and Kiki are known as the ‘Sunflower Sisters‘ as they both prepare for their siblings’ weddings to take place. Amrita’s family are South Asian and Kiki’s family are West African. Both girls are super excited for the major celebrations, new clothes and all the fun traditions. However, old housewives’ tales about dark skin tone, staying out of the sun and drinking tea if you are dark skinned are commented on by Amrita’s extended family members, albeit unaware by her and debunked and dismissed by her parents.
This powerful book about young girls of colour, tackles discrimination through the strong bond of friendship. We get to follow the two friends from girlhood into becoming strong and independent young women.
It is a story about friendships from different cultures and these close bonds as we get older.
The images are bold and beautiful and capture the story’s powerful and positive message of being a girl. It is uplifting and empowering books for young people, especially young girls who do not usually see images of themselves in books and TV.
The book is also supplemented with additional informative pages at the end explaining terminology. ‘Sunflower Sisters’ is a gem – presenting a powerful positive portrait of female friendship from childhood into young womanhood and looking at it through the lens of colourism, shadism, traditions, and sisterhood across different cultures.
‘Sunflower Sisters’, Owlet Press (July 2021)
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