This 32 page early reader is absolutely adorable with jumping in the leaves, sibling love, imaginary unicorns and dragons, yummy food, Pakistani culture and delightful illustrations. Books in this genre aren’t particularly known for their story telling, but with chapter breaks and relatable experiences I was absolutely pulled in to Nadia and Nadir’s world and family. My seven year old loved that he could read it independently and was delighted to see himself so reflected in the text, infact I have given in and we will be having chicken tikka and raita for dinner tomorrow, but I’m not raking the leaves, haha.
Siblings Nadia and Nadir are woken up by there mother with the promise of a surprise. The hints are crunchy and colorful, and when the kids realize it isn’t a giant bowl of cereal outside, they are excited to jump into the giant pile of leaves their abu has raked up in the yard. The kids dive and swim and imagine themselves to be dinosaurs and unicorns as their dad grills chicken tikka and their mom watches on shelling walnuts.
The kids bump heads and decide to play something a little safer by making faces with the leaves, branches, walnut shells, and flowers. They create a family portrait and then it is time to eat lunch and drink chai.
WHY I LIKE IT:
I love that it is a very recognizable family: the women are wearing hijab, urdu words are sprinkled in, and Pakistani foods are being eaten, there is no othering, all kids will enjoy the story, and Muslim and desi Muslims specifically will feel seen.
I love that there is imagination and dad cooking and hanging out in a chill environment. There is a glossary at the back, but for this demographic I actually really like it. It allows for the independent reader to use a book tool to understand a word. I also like that illustrations of the words flutter around the cartoon author and illustrator blurbs.
There are details about the trees dropping the leaves as well as why the leaves are changing color.
TOOLS FOR LEADING THE DISCUSSION:
Too young for a book club selection, but ideal to have on the shelves of a classroom library, school library, or home library.
Well done alhumdulillah. Paperback and library bound additions available here. The book is part of a series, but can be purchased individually or as a set. I plan to review each of the six books over the next few months.