Multicultural Children's Book Day 2024
Spotlight Review: The Day Saida Arrived
Now in its 11th year, I have been a proud reviewer for Multicultural Children's Book Day's annual event since 2015. I am so thankful for this wonderful program that provides free resources for parents, educators, librarians, homeschoolers and lovers of children's books of excellence celebrating diversity. This year I share a beautiful and timely picture book celebrating the power of words. While also celebrating #ReadYourWorld2024, you can learn more about the organizers and this year's sponsors who have made this free, kid-welcome book event possible here.
The Day Saida Arrived
Written by Susana Gómez Redondo, illustrated by Sonja Wimmer, translated by Lawrence Schimel
A deeply affecting, beautifully written and illustrated picture book for boys and girls ages 3-7, with a theme of "the power of words," to create friendships, cross divides and overcome seemingly impossible obstacles.
As the main character searches everywhere for Saida's missing words, readers never learn the name of the young child, whose family has just welcomed Saida into their lives, making this story accessible for "every child," boys and girls. A breakthrough comes through shared drawings and conveyance of acceptance, love and friendship.
Gradually they learn more of each other's language, and they imagine visiting Saida's Moroccan home and speaking their shared words, with the book ending beautifully as they dream of travels to distant foreign lands where they can share more words.
The illustrations also playfully further the theme of words, with text appearing in different colors and sizes throughout, making each page interactive and engaging, drawing in the readers eye and encouraging young readers to visit the pages again and again. The unique illustrations perfectly complement the child's perspective, with added fantastical elements, such as a teacher looming large over a two-page spread as a much-smaller, curious child searches his pockets for Saida's missing words. Not to mention the utterly brilliant way of gradually adding Arabic, Saida's language.
With all these details, ultimately it remains the book's lyrical, rhythmic language that strikes to the heart and speaks to the soul, leaving a feeling of hope .... and recognition of beauty that can be found in our differences, and friendships that can cross borders. And ways books and words can affect future generations of readers.
With the Arabic and English alphabets included at the end, a perfect piece of nonfiction, STEAM-related information, I highly recommend this book for its classroom potential, and also for its teaching of SEL skills, especially empathy, and the book's timeliness--this is a topic that is not going away and needs to be covered in just such a way as done in The Day Saida Arrived. A free teacher's kit and coloring sheet are available for download and use on Ink-a-Dink.com, thanks to Blue Dot Press.
A beautifully, powerful book.
And we knew that in all languages, there are words as warm as breath and others cold as metal.
Words that bring together, and words that separate.
Words that cause hurt, words that awaken laughter.
Words that tickle when they're spoken, and other that, when we hear them, fell like a hug.
Author ~ Editor ~ Reviewer ~ Speaker
Founder, Childress Ink ~ Ink-a-Dink
Thirty years in publishing, Kim Childress is an award-winning editor, author, speaker, and reviewer who built her career while raising of personal focus group of four children. More