Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan is today’s pick for Perfect Picture Book Friday and National Sibling Day!
Illustrated by: Sophie Blackall
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers (March 2010)
Suitable for ages: 4-8
Themes: cultural awareness, immigrant experiences, cultural conflict, sibling-rivalry, tolerance, dealing with anger, frustration, jealousy
Brief Synopsis: Rubina is invited to a birthday party and her little sister Sana asks to tag along. But Rubina tries to convince her mother it’s not a good idea to bring someone to a party when they are not invited. Rubina’s mother does not understand why bringing her little sister is a problem. She also doesn’t understand why someone would celebrate a birthday since that is not a tradition in their culture. Sana persists and although embarrassed, Rubina asks the host for permission to bring her. At the party Sana misbehaves. And not only does Sana eat the candy in her party bag when they get home, but Rubina is not invited to another party for a long time. When Sana is invited to a party, the third sibling, Maryam, asks to go too. But this time, Sana is the one who doesn’t want a tag-a-long. Rubina’s intervention helps her family understand North American culture.
Opening pages: “I am so excited I run all the way home from school.
“Ami! I’ve been invited to a birthday party! There’s going to be games and toys, cake and ice cream! Can I go?”
Sana screams, “I wanna go too!”
Ami says, “What’s a birthday party?”
“It’s when they celebrate the day they were born.”
“Why do they do that?”
“They just do! Can I go?”
Why I like this book: I enjoyed this book because it weaves sibling rivalry in the backdrop of a story about an immigrant family from Pakistan. The are two ongoing conflicts, the first between the siblings and the second is adapting to a new culture. An excellent choice to introduce cultural awareness,teach tolerance, address cultural practices, and address the sibling dynamic present in all families regardless of heritage.
Resources: See the Teacher’s Guide here.
For more of today’s book reviews, go to author Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book page.