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by Rukhsana Khan

illustrated by Sophie Blackall


School Library Journal:

Gr 2–4— This sibling-rivalry story compares well with Kevin Henkes’s Sheila Rae’s Peppermint Stick (HarperCollins, 2001). When Rubina comes home with a birthday-party invitation, her mother asks why people celebrate birthdays, as her culture does not, and insists that Rubina take her little sister along despite the older child’s insistence that “they don’t do that here.” Sana is a brat par excellence at the party and steals Rubina’s candy. It’s a long time before Rubina is invited to another one. Expert pacing takes readers to the day when Sana is invited to her first party. Whereas the embarrassing scenario could be repeated with the girls’ younger sister, Rubina convinces her mother to reconsider, and Sana is allowed to go solo. The beauty of the muted tones and spareness of the illustrations allow readers to feel the small conflicts in the text. The stylistic scattering of East Indian motifs from bedspread designs to clothing communicate the cultural richness of the family’s home life while the aerial views, especially the rooms through which the siblings chase each other, are priceless. The book  is a thoughtful springboard for discussion of different birthday traditions and gorgeous to the eye.—Sara Lissa Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City –Sara Lissa Paulson (Reviewed March 1, 2010) (School Library Journal, vol 56, issue 3, p120)


  • ALA Notable Children’s Books – Younger Readers Category: 2011
  • Booklist Editors’ Choice – Books for Youth – Young Readers Category: 2010
  • Charlotte Zolotow Award
  • Golden Kite Award: Picture Book  Text
  • New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books: 2010


2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, Ages 0-8, Cultural Differences, Family, Identity