The Kindest Red: A Story of Hijab and Friendship

Little, Brown. Jan. 2023. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780759555709.
PreS-Gr 2–The Proudest Blue was a tale of family; this new book radiates outward, creating a vibrant landscape of mutually compassionate acts. Muhammad and Ali use the backdrop of school picture day to demonstrate the strong bonds between friends who serve, as Faizah creates her ideal “kind world” by helping members of her class. But instead of veering into The Giving Tree-like territory of self-sacrifice, this story shows how Faizah still needs help through a dark moment herself. This gentle exchange of love goes both ways, creating a joyous tale of strengthening community by lifting up one another. Ali’s vibrant illustrations perfectly enhance these messages, most assuredly in spreads where friends twirl together, focusing on what connects them rather than what drives them apart. It may prove long for very young readers, but the message is perfect as well as vital for elementary children.
VERDICT An exuberant follow-up to The Proudest Blue, this should join that one on the shelves.

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