Nadia's Hands

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When Nadia is chosen to be a flower girl in Auntie Laila's traditional Pakistani wedding, her hands are decorated with beautiful designs made with mehndi, and she comes to understand the rich culture she has inherited.

A Pakistani-American girl takes part in her aunt's traditional Pakistani wedding.

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When Nadia is chosen to be a flower girl in Auntie Laila's traditional Pakistani wedding, her hands are decorated with beautiful designs made with mehndi, and she comes to understand the rich culture she has inherited.

A Pakistani-American girl takes part in her aunt's traditional Pakistani wedding.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
Nadia is to be the flower girl at Auntie Laila's wedding. The downside is that in the tradition of her Pakistani family, she must have her hands decorated with 'mehndi,' or henna designs. As she gives in reluctantly, Nadia learns 'sabr,' or patience, and comes to terms with her heritage. This is an interesting premise - one that rings true for many children of immigrant communities, seeking to find a place and identity. Unfortunately, the telling is a trifle heavy-handed in places, and the denouement feels a bit flat, focused as it is on realization and no more. Weiner's oil pastels depict the glowing colors and delicate tracery of mehndi, and should intrigue the young reader.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-Nadia, a Pakistani-American girl, is chosen to be the flower girl at her aunt's wedding. On the day of the ceremony, Auntie Amina applies a henna paste (mehndi) to the girl's hands and then draws intricate patterns on them. Nadia knows that the designs will not wash off by the time she goes back to school on Monday, and she is very concerned about what her classmates will think. This story of one girl's coming to terms with her heritage is illustrated in oil pastels. Textured, impressionistic, full-page paintings in neon shades of green, red, fuchsia, and blue are set on ample white space sparely decorated with patterns taken from Nadia's hands. While the story is slight and the illustrations are undistinguished, the effort gives a glimpse into another culture.-Diane S. Marton, Arlington County Library, VA
Kirkus Reviews
Nadia, a Pakistani-American girl, has been chosen to be the flower girl for Auntie Laila's traditional wedding. Nadia will wear shalwar, or silky trousers, with a matching kameez on top. She'll have her hair curled, and she'll walk down the aisle, strewing flower petals left and right. Before the wedding, however, she'll have her hands decorated with the mehndi, a dark red henna paste swirled into intricate designs, flowers, and stars. Everyone assumes that Nadia is thrilled, but she's worried about Monday, when she'll have to go to school with the indelible designs still on her hands. How the strength of time-honored traditions and the warmth and love of a large extended family transform Nadia's feelings about her hands make an affecting-though somewhat abruptly resolved-story. Weiner's pastel illustrations amplify the text; he shows Nadia's ambivalence in her face and posture, and conveys both her pleasure at her important role in the wedding, and her reluctance to be different at school. When she comes to terms with those fears, her smile is radiant. (glossary) (Picture book. 5-8) .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590787847
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 435,976
  • Age range: 5 - 7 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.30 (w) x 10.80 (h) x 0.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen English is the author of Just Right Stew, among many other books for children. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Jonathan Weiner is an artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries across the United States. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, he lives in New York City.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2006

    Wonderfully Written....

    I loved this book the minute I laid eyes on it. The story was so true to my own life that it brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it. I remember having henna or mehndi put on as a little girl growing up here in the U.S. I also remember feeling different, but then learning to embrace being different and knowing that I was special because I was different and people accepting and celebrating my differences. A must read for all immigrant children and or their parents, especially those from south-east Asia and or India and Pakistan.

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