Book Title: Meet Yasmin! Author: Saadia Faruqi Illustrator: Hatem Aly Publisher: Picture Window Books Age Range: 5 to 8 years
If there were ever a main character that I was thrilled to meet, Yasmin is that character. And I'm equally elated to review Meet Yasmin! – a charming set of stories surrounding the adventures of this effervescent second-grader.
In Yasmin the Explorer, her Baba teaches her about maps and how every good explorer needs one. Excited by the prospect of becoming an explorer herself, Yasmin creates her own map as she and Mama head to the farmer’s market. But when they get separated, Yasmin must put her map to the test to find her.
In Yasmin the Painter, Yasmin finds herself worrying about the upcoming art contest at school – especially because she doesn’t believe she’s very good at it. Even with the help of Baba and online painting videos, Yasmin has a hard time finding her confidence. But she must figure out a plan before the big competition.
In the final story, Yasmin the Fashionista, she and Nana have a lot of fun playing dress up in Mama’s clothes while Mama and Baba are out. That is until they accidentally wreck her favorite kameez. Now Yasmin must use her creativity to figure out how fix it before her parents get home.
Not only is this book brimming with girl power, Faruqi provides fantastic backmatter to teach young children about Pakistani culture; which includes facts and a recipe for Mango Lassi. The book also presents readers with discussion questions about the challenges Yasmin faces and what they would do if faced with the same obstacles.
Aly’s vibrant illustrations perfectly match Yasmin’s bright and electric spirit. I highly recommend meeting Yasmin with your beginner readers. You’ll be glad you did.
Meet Yasmin! is perfect for: The future explorer The future creator The future fashionista
Book Title: The Nian Monster Author: Andrea Wang Illustrator: Alina Chau Publisher: Albert Whitman & Co. Age Range: 4 – 8
Happy Chinese New Year! 2019 marks the Year of the Pig, the symbol of wealth and fortune.
To celebrate, I’m excited to share this gem of a story, The Nian Monster, which was also recently named an APALA Honor book!
As they hang the traditional decorations for their new year celebration, Xingling’s grandmother explains that these adornments have served as protection from the wicked Nian monster. Filled with hunger at the start of the year, Nian would gobble up entire villages – but, then the people figured out how to keep him away.
“Every monster has a weakness. Nian had three – loud sounds, fire, and the color red. Our traditions have kept Nian away ever since.”
Thousands of years later, Nian has returned and is threatening to eat Xinling and the whole city. Now, it’s up to her to use her clever nature to outsmart the monster and save the holiday.
This is not only a fun read, but it’s filled with interesting facts about China and its rich history.
“Nian’s wide, wicked jaws were stuck fast. The grandmothers had used only glutinous rice flour. The stickiest kind! So sticky it had been used to build the Great Wall.”
Wang’s exhilarating storytelling matched with Chau’s vibrant illustrations makes this a truly riveting read for all ages.
BONUS! Alina Chau was kind enough to share a link to a DIY Lunar New Year Celebration kit that you can do with kids. To download, click here.
Recommended for: The little thinker The future creator The future storyteller