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Malaika's costume
2016
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Author Notes
<p>Nadia L. Hohn is a writer, musician and educator. The manuscript of Malaika's Costume, her first picture book, won the Helen Isobel Sissons Canadian Children's Story Award. She is also the author of two forthcoming non-fiction titles, Music and Media Studies, part of the Sankofa series, which won the Moonbeam Children's Book Award for Multicultural Non-Fiction. She lives in Toronto, where she teaches French, music and the arts at an alternative elementary school.</p> <p>IRENE LUXBACHER is an artist and author living in Toronto, Canada. With more than fifteen years' experience as an illustrator, Irene has received numerous awards for her children's instructional and picture books. She wrote and illustrated the picture book Mr. Frank, which was selected for the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List. She recently illustrated Malaika's Costume and its sequel, Malaika's Winter Carnival, by Nadia L. Hohn, as well as Mittens to Share by Emil Sher.</p>
Fiction/Biography Profile
Characters
Malaika (Girl), Mother moved away; attends her first Carnival without her; tries to prepare a costume in time for the parade
Genre
Fiction
Juvenile
Multicultural
Topics
Carnivals
Family
Grandmothers
Community life
Celebrations
Holidays
Parades
Setting
- South America
Time Period
2000s -- 21st century
Large Cover Image
Trade Reviews

  School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-Lacking money for a new costume, a girl and her grandmother must use their ingenuity to repurpose and repair an old outfit and make it extra special for the Kiddie Carnival Parade. The first-person text is printed against a background of lined paper, and the wordless last page shows Malaika's mother-away working in Canada-thoroughly enjoying the letter and pictures she has received. Malaika and those in her Caribbean community speak a lightly lilting patois, and terms like kaiso and cassava are defined in a small glossary on the copyright page. Bright, stylized mixed-media illustrations burst with colors, patterns, and layers and hew closely to the lively text. Occasional highly pixelated areas slightly distract from otherwise vibrant scenes of Carnival costumes and multicultural rural life. VERDICT A fun choice for libraries seeking books about creativity in general or the Caribbean in particular.-Sarah Stone, San Francisco Public Library © Copyright 2016. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Booklist Review

Malaika's mother has moved to Canada, where she hopes to find a better way to support the family she left behind in Jamaica. Malaika misses her mother terribly, but she is also worried about her lack of a costume for the upcoming carnival. She dreams of being a rainbow peacock, but first she must find a way to make her costume. With the help of fabric scraps donated by Mrs. Chin, the tailor, and Grandma's sewing talents, Malaika's dream might just come true. Like a rainbow peacock itself, the illustrations in this book burst with a frenzy of colors and textures. Mixed-media collages and pencil drawings are offset by swathes of white space that highlight the bold colors and rhythmic forms. The story comes to a touching close with an image of a tearful Mummy in Canada, holding a photograph of Malaika at the carnival, reminding readers that home can sometimes be a letter away.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2016 Booklist

  Horn Book Review

Malaika prepares for her first Carnival celebration since her mother moved from their Caribbean town to Canada to find work. Malaika loves her life with her granny, but she misses Mummy. "If theres so many jobs in Canada, how come Grandma and I have been waiting so long, long for the money Mummy say she would send to make my costume?" Malaika sees the costumes her classmates have created, and she is jealous and concerned. After our little heroine rejects the idea of reusing Grannys old costume, she has to come up with an idea of her own. Using the resources she can find for free and inspired by a song on the radio ("It is true we are poor but we have dignity"), Malaika makes a costume of which anyone would be proud. Hohn and Luxbacher create a warm community where Malaika is loved by Granny and the townspeople. The mixed-media illustrations are filled with bright colors and stylized images of flowers and water and Caribbean life. The text is told in the colloquial voice of the little girl, and readers will quickly and easily feel a part of her circle. Carnival is an important holiday in many cultures, and its good to have a picture book to celebrate it. The glossary on the copyright page will help adult readers-aloud educate themselves about the holiday, too. robin l. smith (c) Copyright 2016. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

  Kirkus Review

Hohn's debut children's book explores Caribbean culture as it follows Malaika on her determined path to creating her dream carnival costume. Malaika fills with excitement when she thinks about her carnival costume and dancing with the other children. If only Mummy could fly home from Canada to witness it. With no money sent from the north, Malaika begins to lose hope that her costume will be made at all. Luckily Granny's resourcefulness and Malaika's quick thinking bring a beautiful costume to life. Highly saturated folk-art imagery captures the warmth and vibrancy of the islands. Luxbacher's collage style lends itself to a child's perspective, depicting only what is relevant to Malaika. Doodles on lined paper in the corners and outer edges of the pages suggest that Malaika writes to her mother constantly and serve as indicators of Malaika's moods. The Caribbean dialect rhythmically carries the story forward without losing readers not familiar with it. Hohn's story teaches readers a bit of Caribbean culture while focusing on the emotional turmoil of a child separated from her parent; the juxtaposition of a heavy, serious topic with a lighthearted, joyous cultural activity balances the mood. The story ends on a high note, with a bonus panel on the final page that parents will enjoy. A wholly earned celebration. (glossary) (Picture book. 3-7) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Summary
<p>It's Carnival time. The first Carnival since Malaika's mother moved to Canada to find a good job and provide for Malaika and her grandmother. Her mother promised she would send money for a costume, but when the money doesn't arrive, will Malaika still be able to dance in the parade?</p> <p>Disappointed and upset at her grandmother's hand-me-down costume, Malaika leaves the house, running into Ms. Chin, the tailor, who offers Malaika a bag of scrap fabric. With her grandmother's help, Malaika creates a patchwork rainbow peacock costume, and dances proudly in the parade.</p> <p>A heartwarming story about family, community and the celebration of Carnival, Nadia Hohn's warm and colloquial language and Irene Luxbacher's vibrant collage-style illustrations make this a strikingly original picture book.</p>
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