Archive for June 15, 2012


golden domes

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

This color concept book introduces young readers to Islam and the many gorgeous colors of that religion and culture.  So when the red of the prayer rug is talked about, so is praying five times a day.  There is the blue of her mother’s hijab, used to cover her hair.  Orange is the color of henna.  Yellow is the box for Eid gifts for those in need.  Green is the color of the Quran.  In each instance and others, the culture is woven into the colors in a beautiful and effortless way.  This is a look at Islam that is lovely, welcoming and filled with light and color.

Khan’s writing is very simply done.  The colors are natural fits with their objects in Islam, none of them seem forced at all.  She explains each color and object in only a few lines, leaving the bulk of the book for the beauty of the illustrations.  Amini’s work has a wonderful richness to it where she dedicates the entire two-page spread to one specific color, changing the background too.  She also uses textures throughout and a softness that makes it all the more inviting.

A beautiful tribute to Islam, this book will fill a niche in many public libraries.  Appropriate for ages 3-5.

Reviewed from copy received from Chronicle Books.

georgia in hawaii

Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O’Keeffe Painted What She Pleased by Amy Novesky, illustrated by Yuyi Morales

In 1939, the Hawaiian Pineapple Company commissioned two painting by Georgia O’Keeffe.  This picture book is the story of her trip to Hawaii funded by the company.  O’Keeffe spent time on each of the Hawaiian islands.  Her first stop was Oahu where she saw pineapples in the fields.  She wanted to spend time close to the plants as they grew, but the company did not approve.  They gave her a pineapple that had been picked, but that was not the same for O’Keeffe.  She next went to Maui where she spent time near a rainforest and waterfalls.  She painted what she wanted, when she wanted.  On the island of Hawaii, she saw volcanoes, rare red coral and lots of flowers. Finally, she went to Kauai and visited with the local artists as the air was filled with the scent of burning sugar.  But when she returned to the mainland, she didn’t have a single picture of a pineapple.  The company was upset, and so was O’Keeffe, who hated being told what to paint.  So how could they resolve this?

Novesky brings the Hawaiian island to lush life in this picture book.  Her words tell of the beauty and diversity of the islands.  They also show how the islands impacted the work of Georgia O’Keeffe.  The story is told on a level that children will enjoy, giving examples of what inspired O’Keefe to paint and what did not.  It is a strong story about how creativity and inspiration work.

Morales’ art is so lovely.  As she says in her illustrator’s note at the end of the book, she took inspiration for the illustrations not only from the twenty paintings that O’Keeffe created in Hawaii, but also from works throughout O’Keeffe’s lifetime.  The illustrations have something that I can’t put into words.  It’s a kinship or a closeness with the original work. 

This is a gorgeous and striking picture book about a dynamic, one-of-a-kind artist.  Appropriate for ages 6-8.

Reviewed from library copy.

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter and Pinterest accounts that you might find interesting:

You can also check out my library-related tweets and pins on my other blog, Sites & Soundbytes.

60 Ways to Make Reading Fun: http://pinterest.com/pin/193021533999853077/

Hunger Games Sequel Bags Philip Seymour Hoffman? http://buff.ly/KQwqbJ #yalit

Paramount Buys ‘The Diviners’ For Fake Empire http://buff.ly/LyFBKZ #yalit

Some Amazing Science Fiction Picture Books For Your Kids (And You)http://buff.ly/MHF3QR #kidlit

Staying Power: Edwards Award winner Susan Cooper has been working her magic for more than 40 years http://buff.ly/L7qXNh #kidlit

Summer Reading Flowchart: http://pinterest.com/pin/193021533999856092/

Top 5 Ways to Prevent Rusty Summer Readers http://buff.ly/LifLZI #reading

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