Together for Kwanzaa

­Listening Library. Nov. 2023. 11p. $5. ISBN 9780593826744.
K-Gr 2–Originally published in 2000, Ford’s holiday story proves timeless with an audiobook appearing almost a quarter-century later. Nigerian-born voice actor Ladeinde’s performance is sweetly understanding as young Kayla shares her love for Kwanzaa, her “favorite time of the year,” and her sadness that her older brother Khari can’t travel home due to a heavy snowstorm. Kayla “loved celebrating her African heritage,” but missing Khari weighs heavily. Upholding her family’s traditions means dressing in colorful African clothing and setting up the Kwanzaa table with the kinara, and its seven candles to be lit over seven nights to celebrate the seven Kwanzaa principles: umoja (unity); kujichagulia (self-determination); ujima (working together and being responsible); ujamaa (supporting Black businesses), nia (purpose); kuumba (creativity); and imani (faith). Sometime in between, Khari surprises everyone.
VERDICT Ladeinde relates a lovely and joyous celebration of all things Kwanzaa through one family’s experiences.

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