Tag: expatriates

Diverse Books, Picture books

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan

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.


Check out the March 2014 edition of Among Worlds Magazine

My article, The Unexpected Expected: The Transition of My Third Culture Kids, is featured in the March 2014 edition of the Among Worlds Magazine. The magazine targets issues faced by Third Culture Adults & Kids (TCAs and TCKs). This March edition is dedicated to Reentry and Repatriation.

As an adult I have reentered and repatriated more than once. And although there are some similarities shared through reentry to one’s passport country the transition of a child has different challenges.

“Of course we expected the kids to be asked, “Where are you from?’’ A question often asked over and over while living abroad, but their answer usually sufficed and immediately identified them as ex-pat kids.  Upon re-entry, one answer did not project that identity. One answer was incomplete. Stating where they grew up or where they lived or where they were born were only parts of their stories. Our struggle as parents is to help them feel whole.”

I told some of their stories about their adjustment and shed light on what I observed during their transition.

I am happy to report my teen and young adult child are indeed well-adjusted in their passport country. And they are still and will always remain third culture kids with third culture adult parents.