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?
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.
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.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the story.
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
Nadia L. Hohn is a writer and educator. Her first picture book, Malaika’s Costume, won the Helen Isobel Sissons Canadian Children’s Story Award and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Children’s Literature Award. She is also the author of Malaika’s Winter Carnival; A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes; Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, illustrated by Gustavo Mazali; and two titles in the Sankofa series — Music and Media. Nadia’s writing is inspired by her childhood memories, Jamaican heritage, Black culture, world travels, and social issues. She lives in Toronto.
Irene Luxbacher is an artist and author living in Toronto. With more than fifteen years’ experience as an illustrator, Irene has received many awards for her children’s books. She has written and illustrated Deep Underwater (“Masterful artwork and nuanced verse” —Kirkus, starred review) and Mr. Frank, which was selected for the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List. Her illustrations for Malaika’s Costume and Malaika’s Winter Carnival by Nadia L. Hohn have also been highly acclaimed, and her illustrations for The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen were shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award.
A fun choice for libraries seeking books about creativity in general or the Caribbean in particular.
Like a rainbow peacock itself, the illustrations in this book burst with a frenzy of colors and textures.
Hohn employs a unique style of voice that is both figuratively and literaly lyrical.
This is actually a realistic portrait of the consequences of global immigration and economics. But it’s also the story of how much little girls love their moms. Beautiful.
. . . an engaging, poignant story with exquisite taste and wonderful details.
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 it's good to have a picture book to celebrate it.
Malaika’s Costume is a highly recommended story that celebrates the different cultures of the world and the emotional journey of a young child.
A wholly earned celebration.