The Night Before Kwanzaa

Grosset & Dunlap. (The Night Before). Oct. 2023. 32p. pap. $5.99. ISBN 9780593519752.
K-Gr 3–The latest installment in the “The Night Before” series, which deals with holidays and common experiences in children’s lives, this time focuses on Kwanzaa. A young boy is excited because his grandmother is visiting for Kwanzaa. With her and the rest of the family, the boy takes readers through the holiday. Each page tells the meaning of a different object, food, or tradition used during the celebration. The text provides the Swahili word and pronunciation of each candle in the kinara, and then describes the meaning. The material is accurate and well-constructed, but there is nothing special or unique that creates any excitement. All the books in the series use the same style of illustrations, which is unfortunate when considering the diversity of the topics.
VERDICT This book will not inspire curiosity about Kwanzaa, nor does it have characters or a story that children will connect with.

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