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
Re: Last week’s post: “I’m sure most of you are familiar with the fabulous website COLOR ONLINE, a blog that “focuses on women writers of color for adults YA and children,” that is dedicated to empowering young women and children. If not, make sure to click and read away. Color Online regularly features interviews, book reviews, giveaways and essays on literacy and on various cultural issues. It was founded by LaTonya Baldwin, who is also at the origin of Readers Against WhiteWashing (RAWW).
To celebrate Women’s History Month, it was only natural to highlight Color Online’s work. And what better way to do so than to pick the brain of some of my colleagues? So I asked: Tell me about a woman writer who made history, whose life inspire you, and/or whom you consider a role model.”
On her blog The Happy Nappy Bookseller, Doret offers us the invaluable insight of a bookseller through her books reviews, interviews and essays. Doret, I can’t thank you enough for your help in celebrating women writers this month throughout the blogosphere, and I was particularly excited to read your guest post on Kidlit Celebrates Women’s History Month, titled Women of Color Make their Presence Known.
Here’s Doret’s answer: “When Nathalie, asked all the other Color Online contributors if we would do a guest post at Multiculturalism Rocks for Women’s History Month, we all said yes. However, when I saw the question, I was very close to saying, “sorry Nathalie I can’t do it.” I am moved by and love many female authors. Black female authors will always hold a special place in my reader’s heart. I will always read them; as much as their writing changes over the years, the core remains the same. It’s the core element that I will forever be connected to.
As much as I love these stories and the women who write them, I am not moved to be more than I am. With that in mind I couldn’t answer this question, yet I felt awful because it was such an easy one. We need people to inspire us and I had no idea who inspired me. When that revelation hit me, it broke my heart a bit. I, too, need an Oprah. Then I remembered, I Dream a World: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America, by Brian Lanker, and all was well again. The book profiles 75 Black Women who made a difference in their various fields.
Right now I have the book open to Jean Blackwell Hutson‘s page. For 32 years, Hutson guided the development of the Schomburg Center for Research for Black Culture. If you are unfamiliar with the Schomburg its a must see library in Harlem, N.Y.
Now I have the book open to Leontine T. C. Kelly‘s page, the first Black woman bishop of a major religious denomination in the United States.
There was a time when I would flip through I Dream a World, and read these different stories and be inspired to do more. In some ways it was my devotional. Don’t get me wrong, I never put these women up on a pedestal and I doubt they’d want that, but there was a time when I would picture myself doing something half as good. With everything up in the air for me right now, I’m ready to go back to these woman for a little much needed strength.”
Wow, Doret! I found out that my library carries that book; a big thank you for recommending it. I wish you to get all the strength you need and more.