Halal Hot Dogs

Little Bee. May 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499811575.
Gr 2-4–It’s Friday, Musa’s favorite day of the week—the day his family, including his mother, father, siblings, and grandfather walk together to attend Jummah prayer service at a local masjid and have a special meal together afterward. After weeks of waiting and enduring some food mishaps, it’s finally Musa’s turn to choose the family’s post-Jummah treat. He knows exactly what he wants: halal hot dogs from a stand near the masjid, topped with Salam sauce, of course. This lively tale chronicles Musa’s Friday adventure through the streets of his vibrant urban neighborhood. Bright cartoon illustrations contribute to the feel of the story. While the family’s ethnic identity isn’t explicitly identified, references to dishes such as molokhia and kefte, and mentions of cultural traditions (debke, a folk dance popular in Palestinian and Lebanese communities), as well as depictions of family members wearing traditional dress, offer an unabashed representation of a loving and positive Middle Eastern family. Community members at the masjid and in the neighborhood are depicted in various skin tones, shapes, and sizes, with names representing diverse ethnic backgrounds. A glossary of Arabic words and terms and an explanation of halal laws provide additional context.
VERDICT An enjoyable tour of food, faith, and family.

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