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Nadia L. Hohn (CA)

Malaika's Costume

Malaika's Costume

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Malaika’s mother can’t buy her a carnival costume — will she still be able to dance in the parade?

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, and Malaika marks off the days on her calendar as she waits for Mummy’s letter to arrive. But when the letter finally comes, Malaika learns that there is no money for her costume.

Disappointed and upset at the thought of wearing 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.

This heartwarming story about family, community and the celebration of carnival is written in a blend of standard English and Caribbean patois. Nadia L. Hohn’s warm prose 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.

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NADIA L. HOHN, B.A. (Hon.), B.Ed., M.Ed., M.F.A. is an award-winning educator and author of several books for children including the Malaika series, The Antiracist Kitchen: 21 Stories (and Recipes), and A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice. Nadia is an “artivist” who works to make sure that all young people see themselves in books. Based in Toronto, Nadia teaches elementary school and writing for children courses at post-secondary institutions.

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