Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast » Blog Archive » 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #698: Featuring Rahele Jomepour Bell

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Today, I’ve some spreads from A. E. Ali’s Our Favorite Day of the Year (Salaam Reads, June 2020), illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell. It’s a sweet, earnest story — one about budding kindergarten friendships and learning to accept diverse ways of life. Other than one’s home, where else but in classrooms can we better instill such an appreciation in children? Pictured above are the book’s endpapers, which depict symbols from various cultures around the world.

It’s Musa’s first day of kindergarten, and his teacher (Ms. Gupta) instructs the students in her truly diverse classroom to take a look around the room. She adds, “You don’t know them now, but these faces will become your closest friends this year.” She also tells the class that, for show-and-tell during the school year, everyone will take turns telling students “your favorite day of the year.” (Ms. Gupta’s favorite day is the first day of school.) Musa tells his classmates about Eid; Mo tellse everyone about Rosh Hashanah; Moisés shares Las Posadas; and Kevin shares Pi Day (“My family celebrates science”). The book’s backmatter includes more information on each of these celebrations.

When students share holidays and celebrations, they provide details about the rituals involved, the food eaten, and more. Bell’s illustrations (rendered using digital brushes and scanned, hand-printed textures) are highly patterned and detailed — and reverently depict each culture shared. There’s a happiness that exudes from these spreads; for one, nearly everyone can be seen smiling. It’s truly a picture of what every kindergarten classroom should be — one engaged in hands-on learning and guided by a loving teacher, who is teaching them to open their worlds.

Betsy Bird interviewed Bell over at A Fuse #8 Production last month. You’ll definitely want to read that, which is here. And here are some more spreads from the book. …

 

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“On Musa’s very first day of kindergarten, his teacher, Ms. Gupta, said, ‘Look around the room. You don’t know them now, but these faces will become your closest friends this year.’ Musa looked at the three boys at his table. They didn’t look like his friends.
They were total strangers.”
(Click spread to enlarge)

 

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“… Musa perked up at this. The best day of the year was definitely Eid!
Surely Eid was everyone’s favorite day.”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)

 

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“A few weeks later, Musa and his mom brought in food and decorations for the class.
EID MUBARAK, said the sign. Musa taught the kids how to say it.”
(Click spread to enlarge)

 

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“‘On Eid al-Fitr my family goes to the mosque to pray early in the morning, and afterward we have a HUGE breakfast. Family and friends come to the house all day,
to eat food and bring presents. …’”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)

 

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(Click cover to enlarge)

 

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OUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR. Text copyright © 2020 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Rahele Jomepour Bell and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, New York.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) A new song from Sam:

 

 

2) Kelly McWilliams’s Agnes at the End of the World (or, reading about a viral pandemic during a viral pandemic) …

 

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3) This piece from Mike Curato, and it means a lot to me that he mentioned Wild Things in there.

4) This:

 

 

5) Walks.

6) Ducks on the water.

7) This, produced by NPR:

 

 

What are YOUR kicks this week?

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