Aisha Saeed is no stranger to writing. Her first book Written in the Stars is a lyrical and lovely young adult book about one girl’s struggles between honoring her family traditions and following the future that she wants for herself. Her second title, Amal Unbound, received critical acclaim and was on dozens of top books of the year lists.
July saw the release of Ms. Saeed’s first picture book, Bilal Cooks Daal and it is a delight.
Bilal’s friends have never heard of his favorite food before. So his family invites them in and they experience the smells, flavors, and colors while they prepare the meal together.
The text is concise and sweet, and the illustrations with bright colors and playful shapes and backgrounds swirl into an endearing story. Celebrating friendship, empathy, sharing and the joy of eating, this book is a delight for kids of all ages but is geared for children from four to eight years old. The steps of respectfully entering someone’s home and preparing for a meal are playfully included with the simple text, “They take off their shoes. They wash their hands.” The kids learn that even though the colors, names, and smells of the ingredients are not familiar to them, they enjoy the food.
Bilal Cooks Daal ends with an Author’s Note describing Daal in more detail and includes a recipe. This joyful book would make the perfect addition to any library, school or family book collection. It’s one of my favorite picture book releases of the year.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publication date: July 2019
Page Count: 40
Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers