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FICTION

The Day Saida Arrived

Blue Dot Kids Pr. Sept. 2020. 32p. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781733121255.
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K-Gr 2–A scenic chronicle of the burgeoning friendship between a Moroccan immigrant, Saida, and a Spanish girl, who narrates this translation first published in Spain. When they meet, the little girl instantly knows that she and Saida will be pals but is concerned because Saida is homesick and silent. Since they can’t converse due to the language barrier, the two begin drawing symbols like hearts and smiles. The young Spanish girl’s mother describes Saida’s former home—“bazaars and archways and colorful tiles”—and her father tells her that while Saida’s words don’t work here, Spanish wouldn’t work in Morocco. Soon the two friends start teaching one another in their native tongues; words are shown in English, Arabic, and in phonetics. The two girls dream of one day going to Morocco together and the tale concludes with the narrator declaring the word “border” as unwelcome.
VERDICT Filled with arresting and beautiful hand-painted illustrations done in acrylic paint and crayons, the images do a lovely job of showing Saida’s coming into her own, and renders a poignant message about being the newcomer.

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