Big Red Lollipop

I attended the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) 40th annual conference in August.  I returned with some favorite picture and middle grade books, and YA fiction that I will share in coming months.

Big Red Lollipop, is written by Rukhsana Khan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall.   Khan won a Golden Kite Award for the text of her picture book at the SCBWI  conference in August.  A gifted storyteller, Rukhsana Khan gave one of the most inspiring and humorous acceptance speeches by telling her real-life story of siblings rivalry and cultural differences, and how she brought this winning story to life.   Blackall’s illustrations beautifully compliment and capture the many emotions in the story.

Rubina races home after school, with her first birthday party invitation.    Her mother asks Rubina, “What is a birthday party?”  Rubina explains that “it’s when they celebrate the day they are born.”   There is cake and ice cream, games and toys.  In the background her little sister Sana, screams that she wants to go.  Not understanding the custom, her mother tells Rubina she can go if she takes her little sister.  Rubina knows the other girls will make fun at her and never invite her again.   Taking Sana to the party isn’t too bad and they leave with a gift bag of small toys, chocolates and a Big Red Lollipop.  Sana eats her lollipop on the way home, but Rubina carefully saves lollipop on top of the refrigerator for the next morning.   Guess who spots the lollipop the next morning?  But, the worst thing that happens is that Rubina doesn’t get any invitations to birthday parties for a long time.  Then one day Sana runs home from school with an invitation to a birthday party and is told that she must take her little sister Maryam.  This is a charming book about sibling rivalry, friendship and compassion that take some unexpected twists and turns.  I have added this book to my book shelf.

Kahn has authored many multi-cultural picture books including Silly Chicken, Ruler of the Courtyard and The Roses in My Carpet.  Her newest book, Wanting Mor is a middle grade book I plan to review soon.

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

11 thoughts on “Big Red Lollipop

    • Thank you. I really love her story because there are so many lessons told in such a beautiful manner, that kids will want to read it again and again. And, it was fun listening to Khan tell the story. Think it’s one of my favorite picture books this year. I like the fact that the protaganonist has a cleft lip — hard to find children’s books on the subject. Big problem in India and I imagine the middle east.


  1. I so loved Rukhsana’s acceptance speech at SCBWI. I wish I had bought this book. Our city’s library system doesn’t have even one copy. I’m going to suggest they purchase it — I know there are many children it would speak to. Thanks for reminding me with this review, Pat!


    • Her speech was one of my favorites. Oh, to be such a great storyteller. My library had the book, none of her others. I purchased two others on Amazon. Will give a copy to my granddaughter for Christmas.


    • Thank you for stopping by, Tania. The Big Red Lollipop is a great book about sibling rivalry — and Khan is a master story teller. Kids will just love the book and want it read again and again. I purchased her book, but my library also has a copy. Great gift book with astrong message.

      You mentioned “course.” Not sure if you mean the Writer’s Campaign-Builders Campaign, or my work with author/editor Emma Walton Hamilton and the Children’s Book Hub, I mention in my profile. The campaign runs for two months, but the Children’s Book Hub is a virtual literary community on-line. Emma does two teleseminars with authors, agents, publsihers etc. monthly, and a supportive community for both unpublished and published writers.



    • Carla, this is a very funny real-life story told by such a master storyteller. I highly recommend Kahn’s book as it tackels sibling rivalry and helps children understand cultural differences. Kids will just love this book. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comment.



  2. Pingback:   Hate emails, nice reviews, Monarch butterflies and back-handed compliments… by Khanversations

  3. Pingback: “Wanting Mor” by Rukhsana Khan « Children's Books Heal

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