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.