Joshua's Masai Mask

Overview

Joshua loves playing his kalimba, a traditional African musical instrument. But when his family suggests he bring it to the school talent show, he thinks it's a terrible idea--all his classmates like rap. Then his Uncle Zambezi gives Joshua a magical mask to boost his confidence. Through the power of the mask, Joshua is able to realize it's always better to be true to oneself.

Fearing that his classmates will ridicule his playing the kalimba in the school talent ...

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Overview

Joshua loves playing his kalimba, a traditional African musical instrument. But when his family suggests he bring it to the school talent show, he thinks it's a terrible idea--all his classmates like rap. Then his Uncle Zambezi gives Joshua a magical mask to boost his confidence. Through the power of the mask, Joshua is able to realize it's always better to be true to oneself.

Fearing that his classmates will ridicule his playing the kalimba in the school talent show, Joshua uses a magical Masai mask to transform himself into different people he thinks are more interesting, before realizing that his own identity is one of value.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This multicultural tale (the debut of both collaborators) concerns Joshua, who has been coaxed by his family into playing an authentic African instrument--the kalimba--in his school's talent show . At the first rehearsal, however, he is so daunted by the confidence and popularity of two musical classmates that he goes home in shame. Joshua's uncle (who gave him the kalimba in the first place) now presents him with a Masai mask, which Joshua discovers gives him the ability to become whomever he chooses. He becomes first the young rapper he envied, then a celebrity rapper, then the Mayor--until he realizes he would really just like to be himself. Thanks to Hru's spirited, conversational style, this ``grass is greener'' fantasy evinces a light touch and genuine warmth--a story centering on real children with real feelings. Children may well take pride in recognizing themselves in Rich's bold artwork, bursting with bright hues and humor. A satisfying read for children of any color, this book will easily come alive at story hours as well as in the hands of individual readers. Ages 3-10. (Apr.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
This is the story of an African-American boy who finds his way beyond the image of cool by basing his attitude on the richness of his heritage and his inner music. The agent of change is a Masai mask that lets Joshua slip in and out of several eye-opening perspectives. Before we discovered Lee & Low, I was beginning to think that what I wanted in multicultural books was impossible to find. Lee & Low books put universal feelings in specific cultural contexts. They have found authors who are true to cultures, characters, kids and their own artistic vision.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-An inspiring story of a young African-American boy. Joshua loves when his uncle teaches him to play the kalimba, but when his family encourages him to perform in the school talent show, he knows he'll be embarrassed because his classmates prefer rap. Sure enough, when the children see Joshua's instrument at rehearsal, they laugh and call his uncle names. When he tells his uncle what happened, the man gives him three very important gifts-a bright colored dashiki, a beautiful new hand-carved kalimba, and a big ostrich-feather mask from the Masai tribe of Kenya. He tells the boy that "`The mask will listen to everything you say, and you must be careful to speak wisely.'" When Joshuq puts it on, he learns that he can become someone different by simply wishing, and in the end- wishing only to be himself-he is a hit in the show. Hru and Rich weave an accomplished story of sensitivity and self-actualization. Illustrations are rich in color and capture the essence of love, encouragement, anxiety, and self-assurance. Multiethnic representation and the universality of the theme create a picture book to be enjoyed by a wide audience.-Barbara Osborne Williams, Queens Borough Public Library, Jamaica, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781880000328
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 950,156
  • Age range: 8 - 10 Years
  • Lexile: 580L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.11 (w) x 10.07 (h) x 0.15 (d)

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