King For A Day – Multicultural Children’s Book Day

King for a Day9781600606595_p0_v1_s260x420King For A Day

Rukhsana Khan, Author

Christiane Kromer, Illustrator

Lee & Low Books Inc., Fiction, Oct. 1, 2013

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Kites, Basant Festival, Disabilities, Pakistan

Opening“Basant is the most exciting day of the year! With feasts and music and parties, people celebrate the arrival of spring. And many will make their way to the rooftops of Lahore to test their skills in kite-flying battles.”

Synopsis:  Malik is up early and perched in his wheelchair on the rooftop. He is ready to launch his home-made kite, Falcon, into the skies. He sends his brother to the streets to catch the kites he hopes to set free today. His sister helps him launch his kite. Falcon is small, but built for speed. Malik works his string so that Falcon dives and breaks the strings on the kites of the next door bully. He moves on to circle other kites plucking them from the sky. His brother returns with a pile of kites. By the end of the day Malik has succeeded in showing that he is the best kite fighter and flyer — the King of Basant. As Malik watches the bully shove a girl to the ground and grab her kite, this king shows his kindness to the girl in a special way.

Why I like this book: Master storyteller Rukhsana Khan has written a celebratory story about a boy who is clearly more focused on his abilities than his confinement to a wheelchair. Choosing a child with physical challenges will inspire other children. Malik has talent, technique, self-confidence, and determination. He wants to win the annual kite battle in Lahore. And, Malik beats his bully neighbor with his kite-flying skills and not hurtful words. Khan has turned this centuries-old tradition into a contemporary story for children. Christiane Kromer’s illustrations are exquisite and there is a feast of color on every page.  She focuses on so much detail that you can feel the breeze of the soaring kites on this perfect day. Her pen and ink illustrations are a mixed collage of beautiful fabrics, laces, cut paper and folk art designs of Pakistan. King For A Day is a beautiful collaborative effort between author and illustrator.  Visit Rukhsana Khan and Christiane Kromer at their websites.

Resources:  Khan has devoted a page at the end of the book to the Basant Festival, which is celebrated across South Asia to herald in the spring. Making a kite would be a fun activity for kids. Watch this Kidspot Youtube video and learn how to make your own home-made kite. With markers you can write fun or  inspirational messages or write you name on your kite if it blows away.

Special Note: Monday, January 27,  I am joining other bloggers in celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day, which celebrates diversity in children’s literature. The event is co-hosted by Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. Please visit the website to view multicultural books in all genres.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book.  To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s Perfect Picture Books.

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.

45 thoughts on “King For A Day – Multicultural Children’s Book Day

  1. This looks like a terrific book, Pat! I’d very much like to read it. The closest I’ve come is The Kite Runner. I love that Malik focuses on where his talents lie and not on his disability, and that he finds a legitimate way to beat the bully! Thanks for adding this on to our list!


    • Thank you. It’s a wonderful story about a boys triumph because of his kite-flying skills. The only way you know he’s in a wheelchair and is disabled is because of the illustrations. The book packs a very powerful message.


  2. Great choice! Focusing on what you CAN do rather than what you can’t do is a great lesson for all kids (and adults!). Is this the same kite flying holiday where they put broken glass on the kite strings? I read a book to my class once about that holiday. The crumbs of glass helped to cut the strings of your opponent.


    • Yes, at one time the strings were coated with powdered glass. Rukhasana Khan talks about the tradition and how dangerous it became in an end page. Then metal strings were used and injured people. The kite flying and celebration of Basant in Lahore was banned for safety. But, in the spring of 2013 the festival returned to Lahore. It does have a great message for all kids.


  3. I love the synopsis of this book. I will have to get it from the library and read it. Like Genevieve says, it is great to focus on what one can do rather than can’t do. It will be a great inspiration for kids. Thanks for introducing this book to us. 🙂


    • The only way you know Malik has a disability is through the illustrations. There is no mention of it in the story. The illustrations really carry this story. It really is a delightful story. You find yourself cheering for Malik.


  4. What a wonderful story, Pat! We do need more books like this one that uplift those with special needs and show that they can participate vigorously in life.:) And a perfect choice also for MultiCultural Children’s Book Day that is coming up on January 27.


  5. Another kite story! (I hope you don’t mind that I did a second day of Red Kite, Blue Kite. It really is a special book.) The Big Red Lollipop was a favorite book of mine by Ruhksana Khan, so I am looking forward to reading her newest. 🙂


    • No, I do not mind at all! I do the same thing you do with books I review.

      King For A Day is a great book with several wonderful messages. The illustrations gorgeous. Rukhsana is such a wonderful storyteller and you will enjoy her latest book. I love her multicultural books.


    • It is the perfect book for kids this spring — kite-flying and learning about other cultures. I really like the story is about ability rather than disability. Khans well-crafted text doesn’t mention it, but the illustrations show a boy in a wheelchair.


      • Yes, that was the author’s intent. She wanted to focus on Malik’s many abilities and the illustrations are the only clue he has a disability. Hope you have a chance to read the book. The illustrator also illustrated another book I reviewed a few months ago, Anh’s Anger. Her artwork is beautiful.


    • Thank you Margot, I appreciate your posting my reviews on Pinterest. You write multicultural books about your beloved Australia outback. I believe you will enjoy Rukhsana’s book. She is quite a storyteller and I’ve heard her in person.


  6. This is a lovely story, Pat. I had not heard of this festival. My brothers and I used to own our own kites when we were kids and I loved running with it and watching them. I still love watching them today. Thank you for the tip on the multicultural review. Thanks.


    • I thought you’d like to know Rukhsana has published another multicultural picture book. It’s an excellent story for kids in the spring. Knowing now that you are in summer in NZ. Lucky you!


  7. Pat, I’ve heard so many wonderful things about this book. I’m really looking forward to reading it with my son. Thanks for reviewing!


  8. A great choice for Multicultural Children’s Book Day, An opportunity for children to learn about a tradition in another part of the world. I like that. Combined with the focus on skills rather than disability, this is a perfect book for all kids.


    • It is a tradition many children aren’t aware of. Kids like to fly kites, so in another way Khan’s story breaks down the cultural barriers for children. It is a great story! Thank you for sharing my review on twitter.


    • Yes, Rukhsana Khan tells a wonderful story for children. Some of my favorite multicultural books are published by Lee and Low. Yes, I saw that Sylvia Liu will soon be published by Lee and Low.


  9. What great themes this picture book has: kite fighting, special needs and a multicultural theme! Thank you so much for joining us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day and sharing this wonderful book with us!


    • Mia, I’m glad you like A King For A Day! It is a multicultural book with many themes. I already had planned to run this review on Friday, and used it to promote the Multicultural event Monday. I have an MG novel I was going to share Monday. Do we enter our entries on your site link, or will people just visit the listed blogs?


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