Review Detail

Kids Fiction 361
Short Holiday Stories
Overall rating
Plot/Characters/Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
This collection has a wide variety of stories about different aspects of Eid, and is particularly poignant during this time when people are not able to get together to celebrate. Thompkins-Bigelow's "Perfect" is an interesting story about Hawa, who is spending the holiday with her father's family of Mandinka descent, and her cousin, Fanta, with whom she has an uneasy relationship. Holidays with unaccustomed family can be difficult. Saeed's "Yusuf and the Great Big Brownie Mistake" also discusses a large family gathering, and shows Yusuf that even if he messes up a tradition, it can still be saved. Another food tradition is covered in Ali's "Don'ut Break Tradition" when Nadia goes to great lengths to obtain her family's favorite pastries even though her mother is ill. Hussein's "Kareem Means 'Generous'" showcases a boy who really wants to use his gift of money for himself, but puts it to better use in helping a friend. Leila starts to wear the hijab for the first time in Montgomery's "Just Like Chest Armor", and recounts her experience. There is a graphic novel entry (Alfageeh's Seraj Captures the Moon) as well as a story set in Greece with refugees from Syria (Senzai's Searching for Blue). It's interesting to see a variety of styles and themes centered around one celebration that has slightly different incarnations.
Good Points
Short stories collections are the hardest thing for me to review, and I always finish each story and want an entire book to follow through with the character! I won't even try to do justice to this marvelous collection, but will just say that I am definitely purchasing a copy, and I am sure it will be very popular with my students. I do find it vaguely interesting that there are so many Pakistani Muslim writers; most of my Muslim students have Somalian heritage, but this collection does have a nice variety of background. I also found the contributor biographies very helpful; I'll be using them to track down other writing by these authors.

This is a great book to serve as both a mirror and a window-- many of my readers love books set during Christmas, and this is definitely one to recommend to those readers who love the feeling of celebration, family, and festivities... and lots and lots of food!
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