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  • Writer's pictureMuslim Kids Book Nook

Leila in Saffron by Rukhsana Guidroz

📚 BOOK REVIEW 📚 Title: Leila in Saffron Author: Rukhsana Guidroz Illustrator: Dinara Mirtalipova Publisher: Salaam Reads Type: Fiction Age: 5 - 11 Rating: 6/10 🌟 ⭐ Islamic Content: Muslim Family ⭐ Concerns: family is shown playing musical instruments ⭐ Summary: Leila goes for a weekly dinner at her Nani's house. She shyly enters and when she gets a glimpse of herself she admits that she isn't sure if she likes what she sees in the mirror. She continues to join the rest of her relatives sing songs, helps Nani choose spices for their dinner, goes to the neighbour to get cilantro from Miguel the gardener, then appreciates the unique décor collection on the bookshelf. As she does this, she talks about her Pakistani background and her efforts in learning Arabic with her parents' help. When it's time to go, she is disappointed because she wasn't finished searching. Just then, her grandmother takes Leila in her room, and she chooses to wear her Nani's saffron scarf. With it, she is satisfied to see her reflection. ⭐ Review: Where do we begin with this book. First and foremost let's get to the obvious: the illustrations are phenomenal! With every page you turn, the detailed vibrant colours really make the book pop. I think the main purpose of this book is to add a diverse aspect in the bookshelf it is placed in. I think the biggest critique of this book has to be the lack of the story in it. The storyline, if that is what we can call it, actually has no order and everything about it feels forced and unnatural. It begins with Leila not liking herself physically, then transitions to her helping Nani cook with spices, talking to Miguel the gardener, then she admires the interior décor inspired by her Pakistani background. Adding Miguel to the story just adds another layer of oddity. Furthermore, she says she can't wait to visit Pakistan so she can buy her own Arabic books. When the evening is over, she says she hasn't finished her search which baffled me; i didn't know she was searching? For what exactly? From the beginning, the book never implies that Leila is in search of anything. In the end, she finds it in her reflection when she wears a saffron coloured scarf. If I understand this correctly, the book is meant to showcase Laila and everything she is made up of: her rich Pakistani culture, her Muslim faith, family and home. No doubt, we all want our kids to positively embrace who they fully are: their ethnic background and more importantly, their Muslim identity. A book that empowers it is very valuable in our homes and libraries. In this book however, this very crucial message is lost between each disconnected part of the book. I really wanted its message to be as loud and clear as the illustrations, but it wasn't. ⭐ Available: Libraries everywhere #lailainsaffron #rukhsanaguidroz #muslimkidsbooks #islamickidsbooks #muslimauthor #muslimkidslit #raisingmuslimreaders

Feb 18/2020

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