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by Rebecca Rissman

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This book introduces readers to what it means to celebrate Kwanzaa, and shows them why this holiday is special.


This book introduces readers to what it means to celebrate Kwanzaa, and shows them why this holiday is special.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Ramirose I. Attebury
Begun in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa offers African Americans a way to celebrate their African culture and history. The six day celebration, which begins December 26, emphasizes seven guiding principles: unity, self-determination, responsibility and care for others, cooperation, working to improve communities, creativity, and faith in others. Seven candles, placed in a kinara, serve as symbols of the holiday, in which families can come together over music, food, and adherence to the seven principles. With a table of contents, a one-word glossary, and an index, this book in the "Fiestas" series will serve to introduce readers to both the holiday and traditional parts of a non-fiction book. Questions for parents and teachers to explore with children before and after reading are included on the final page and ensure this book is an appropriate educational choice for school libraries and classrooms. Students engaged in units about holidays, African American history, or character development would all benefit from access to this book. Reviewer: Ramirose I. Attebury
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 1—Each title presents the holiday in a simple and fairly straightforward manner, focusing on basic concepts, practices, and symbols. All of them begin with a question ("What is a holiday?" "What is a festival?") and end with a "Note to Parents and Teachers," which includes topics for discussion both before and after reading. Of the three titles, Kwanzaa is the most successful and Hanukkah presents the most problems. The latter states that the celebration takes place "in winter," which is often untrue since winter begins December 21 and Hanukkah (being based on the lunar calendar) is sometimes over before that date. In addition, the pictures and text make it appear that all nine candles in the menorah are lit each night. An actual explanation of the candle lighting is only found in the notes, which is an unfortunate difference from Kwanzaa, which says "Each day a new candle is lit." A nice inclusion in the notes of Christmas is the suggestion that adults discuss the idea that some of the most appreciated gifts are "gifts of time and love." All in all, these titles might be used successfully as long as an adult is available to discuss the main text, but as stand-alones, they are merely additional.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

Product Details

Publication date:
Holidays and Festivals Series
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 6.60(h) x 0.30(d)
240L (what's this?)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

Meet the Author

Rebecca Rissman is an award-winning children’s author and editor. Her writing has been praised by School Library Journal, Booklist, Creative Child Magazine, and Learning Magazine. She has written more than 200 books about history, culture, science, and art. She lives in Chicago, Illinois with her husband and two daughters. She enjoys yoga, reading, and cooking.

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