Leila in Saffron
I am not gonna lie, I don’t really know how to feel about this book.⠀ ⠀ I feel slightly cheated, because the story did not really deliver on the promises it made on the back cover. The back cover claims that Leila is looking for what she likes about herself, but it never really becomes clear what she finds, besides maybe her smile being like her aunt and her love of cooking? (A hobby more than an actual personality trait)⠀ ⠀ While the story includes references to Pakistan, they do seem hollow and forced. The references to the hijabs in the story seemed to be more like a random piece of clothing or fashion statement rather than a symbol of faith.⠀ ⠀ There was also a reference to Miguel who had a garden outside, and he grew cilantro and gave it to Leila for her curry. It was an awkward part of the story. I just didn’t understand the point or role that he played in the story. Why didn’t she pick her own cilantro out of the ground? ⠀ At the end of the book, Leila puts on a saffron scarf, looks in a mirror, and says that all these things make her who she is...and I am left wondering what exactly those things are?⠀ ⠀ I do appreciate, however, that the story’s purpose is to be empowering little Muslim girls of color to love their colored skin, their dark hair, their different language, and make them proud of their differences. The intention is there...though I wish the follow up is more clear. Also, it felt like nothing happened in the book. She made curry and dressed in a scarf, but no real conflict happened besides her own internal worries?⠀ ⠀ The illustrations were extremely gorgeous though and the book high quality!⠀ ⠀ We do need more positive diverse books, and it is awesome to see more and more, especially in traditional publishing! I just wish that more of the books about Muslims that are traditionally published were stronger in their Islamic representation and didn’t just include “islamic” cliches. ⠀ ⠀ price: around 12 usb
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