My First Kwanzaa

Overview

A simple way to get acquainted with Kwanzaa.

"Hooray! Hooray!

It's time to get ready for Kwanzaa."

During the seven days of Kwanzaa, we celebrate the importance of family, friends, and community. This warm and lively introduction to a very special holiday will help even the youngest children join in!

Author and illustrator Karen Katz's ...

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Overview

A simple way to get acquainted with Kwanzaa.

"Hooray! Hooray!

It's time to get ready for Kwanzaa."

During the seven days of Kwanzaa, we celebrate the importance of family, friends, and community. This warm and lively introduction to a very special holiday will help even the youngest children join in!

Author and illustrator Karen Katz's wonderful series of picture books for the very young offer a simple and fun way to get familiar with the traditions of holiday celebrations from different cultures.

A girl describes how she and her family celebrate the seven days of Kwanzaa.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“The perfect introduction to Kwanza for the younger set.” —Black Issues Book Review

“The specifics, the simple words, and the active pictures combine to convey the wider sense of community that is the essence of the holiday.” —Booklist

“A solid, sweet, and meaty choice for holiday reading.” —Kirkus Reviews

“The simple text and colorful folkloric illustrations with vivid patterns make this a good book to share with young children.” —School Library Journal

 

 Praise for My First Chinese New Year:

“The tale radiates warmth and quietly builds up to the dramatic dragon dance and the traditional greeting of ‘Gung Hay Fat Choy!’ The collage illustrations, cut from paper with colorful Asian designs, also include paint and other media to capture the joyful celebrants. This is a clear introduction to the holiday that young children will enjoy in one-on-one or group read-alouds.” —School Library Journal

“This one’s a winner.” —Kirkus Reviews

School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-A round-faced, happy little girl tells about her family's Kwanzaa celebration. The simple text and colorful folkloric illustrations with vivid patterns make this a good book to share with young children. Adults will appreciate the brief note about the holiday and the phonetic spelling of the Swahili words. Juwanda G. Ford's K Is for Kwanzaa: A Kwanzaa Alphabet Book (Scholastic, 1997) has a similar appeal, but the narrative format of Katz's title makes it more appropriate for storytimes.-V. W. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
With colorful collage and mixed-media illustrations alongside brief, yet informative text, Katz's latest offers youngsters an engaging introduction to the African-American holiday. She tells the story through the eyes of a young girl celebrating with her family. In the opening pages, the child, cherubic and round-faced, explains traditional elements, such as the kinara, or candleholder, in which seven candles, one for each day of Kwanzaa, are placed. Next, the girl explains the significance of each day and the "special idea" it represents. Umoja, or unity, for example, is honored on day one. (The Swahili name for each day, its pronunciation and translation, prefaces each section; various other Swahili words are interspersed throughout.) A solid, sweet, and meaty choice for holiday reading. (Picture book. 2-5)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250050465
  • Publisher: Square Fish
  • Publication date: 10/14/2014
  • Series: My First Holiday Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Katz has written and illustrated many books for children, including The Colors of Us, Can You Say Peace, My First Ramadan, Counting Kisses, and Where Is Baby’s Belly Button. Long inspired by folk art from around the world, she was inspired to write her first book, Over the Moon, when she and her husband adopted their daughter from Guatemala, and she wanted to tell the story of welcoming Lena into their lives. Katz loves to paint and experiment with texture, color, collage, and pattern. Besides an author and illustrator, she has been a costume designer, quilt maker, fabric artist, and graphic designer. Katz and her family divide their time between New York City and Saugerties, New York.

Biography

From painting and sculpture to quiltmaking and costume design, Karen Katz has been making art in one form or another all her life. But it was not until she and her husband adopted a baby from Guatemala that she considered a career in children's books. Published in 1997, her debut picture book, Over the Moon, told the story of one adoptive family's happy beginnings in a country far away. Since then, Katz has gone on to create many award-winning picture, board, and novelty books that capture the joys of childhood in simple storylines, vibrant colors, and winsome illustrations. Some include count-down elements (Counting Kisses, Ten Tiny Tickles) or interactive features (Where Is Baby's Belly Button?, Peek-A-Baby); still others introduce holiday traditions (My First Kwanzaa, My First Chinese New Year) or reinforce good habits, manners, or behavior (Excuse Me!, No Biting!, I Can Share).

Perhaps the secret to Katz's success (besides the undeniable appeal of her signature round-headed babies!) can be summed up in this quote taken directly from the author/artist's website: "When an idea for a story pops into my head, I ask these questions: Will a child want to read this book? Will parents want to read this book with their children? Will this book make a child laugh? Will this book make a parent and child feel something? Is there something visual here that will hold a child's interest? Will a child see something in a different way after reading this book? If the answer to any of those questions is 'yes,' then I know I'm on the right track."

Good To Know

Katz explains the difference between designing picture books and board books in this way:
Picture books usually have more words in them but they tell more of a narrative story. Board books are usually simpler. They are generally 6 spreads and are about one concept. When I create a board book, I try to make something that is very interactive for the baby, with flaps and pull tabs and lots of surprises. Board books are a perfect size for a baby's hand to hold and touch. Babies can have an experience all by them selves with a good board book and can also have a good lap-time experience with a mommy or daddy or caregiver. Picture books take a little more care since the pages can rip. With a board book, you can throw it in a stroller, chew on the corners and even wipe off mashed peas.

Katz has received numerous awards for her work, including:

  • Smithsonian, People, and Parent Guide magazines Best Books designation, all 1997, all for Over the Moon
  • Bill Martin, Jr. Picture Book Award nomination, Florida Reading Association Award nomination, and Child magazine Best Book designation, all 2000, all for The Colors of Us
  • National Parenting Publications Gold Award, and Child magazine Best Book designation, both 2001, and Bank Street School Books Committee Best Book designation, 2002, all for Counting Kisses
  • Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, 2002, for Counting Kisses and Twelve Hats for Lena.
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      1. Education:
        Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia; Yale Graduate School of Art and Architecture
      2. Website:

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