Our Favorite Day of the Year
Author: A. E. Ali
Illustrator: Rahele Jomepour Bell
Simon & Schuster
Ages: 4-8 years old
By the end of the year, the kids realize that Ms. Gupta had been right. They made some great friends in class. But what about the next year? Ms. Gupta to the rescue again!
This is quite a delightful book. From the first page, the author and illustrator make it a priority to be as diverse and inclusive as possible without overwhelming a little reader. The story starts with Musa, apprehensive about his first day of Kindergarten. Who wouldn’t be? New place, new people, it’s a LOT!
The teacher, Ms. Gupta, a bindi wearing South Asian lady, tells the class that they will make the best of friends in the class. Musa is skeptical.
Ms. Gupta goes on to say that her favorite day of the year is the first day of class because she gets to meet all her students. Musa is incredulous – why would this be anyone’s favorite day? But, Ms. Gupta quickly adds that throughout the year they would each get a turn to share their own favorite day with the class.
Musa is elated, as Eid al-Fitr, the celebration marking the end of Ramadan, is just round the corner! His Hijabi mother brings in dishes from around the Muslim world, and Musa gets to share his family’s traditions with his new friends.
Everyone could see why Eid was Musa’s favorite.
As the year progresses, the three boys sitting at Musa’s table on the first day of class also share their favorite days. Mo shares Rosh Hashanah, with his two dads, all three in kippot. Moisés shares a Latin American Christmas time celebration–Las Posadas with lots of festive activities and food. And finally Kevin shares his family’s celebration of science and Sir Isaac Newton on Pi Day with, what else, apple pie.
Everyone could see why Rosh Hashanah was Mo’s favorite.
Everyone could see why Christmas was Moisés’s favorite.
Everyone could see why Pi Day was his [Kevin’s] favorite.
By the end of the year, the kids realize that Ms. Gupta had been right. They made some great friends in class. But what about the next year? Ms. Gupta to the rescue again! She made a calendar for the kids highlighting the celebrations the classmates have shared. This way, even if they don’t all return to the same class, they can have a reminder of all the lovely things they shared.
Bell’s illustrations are vivid, festive, and are sure to ignite the curiosity of young readers. Ali’s writing is simple yet evocative. The book creates a lovely jumping off point to delve deeper into any and all of the wonderful ways people around the world celebrate and to highlight both differences and similarities to young kids.
Our Favorite Day of the Year is a true pleasure to read–a good quality in a book that is sure to get repeat requests.
More books for this Age Group can be found here.
My thanks to Simon & Schuster for providing a Review Copy of this book. All opinions provided herein are my own.
Please, leave comments! I love a HEALTHY exchange of ideas. After all, critical thinking is essential to life.
Anjali (She, Her, Ms.) is the mother of twins, akin to being the mother of dragons. Hailing from Kenya, Anjali has made a career of graduating into recessions and pivoting her experiences to fit ever-shifting worlds. Currently residing in Columbia, MD, Anjali is an accidental homeschooler hoping to raise rebellious anarchists.
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