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Malaika’s Costume

(Malaika #1)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  45 reviews
It’s Carnival time. The first Carnival since Malaika’s mother moved to Canada to find a good job and provide for Malaika and her grandmother. Her mother promised she would send money for a costume, but when the money doesn’t arrive, will Malaika still be able to dance in the parade?

Disappointed and upset at her grandmother’s hand-me-down costume, Malaika leaves the house,
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 1st 2016 by Groundwood Books
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  169 ratings  ·  45 reviews

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Jan 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Malaika's Costume is story of an island girl, Malaika, whose mother has gone to Canada to work so that she can support her and her grandmother. Malaika and her grandmother are expecting money from her mom soon so that Malaika can get a new costume for the Kiddie Carnival, but when the money doesn't arrive, Malaika becomes upset because every other kid she knows already has a costume for the parade. When grandma offers a solution, Malaika becomes disillusioned until a walk through town gives her ...more
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers Looking for Picture-Books Set in the Caribbean and/or Featuring Carnival
Malaika waits anxiously for the money her mother, off working in distant Canada, had promised to send back for her Carnival costume in this engaging picture-book. When the money isn't forthcoming, and her grandmother unpacks her own girlhood costume, the young Caribbean girl (no country is named), who had dreamed of being a colorful peacock, can't contain her anger and disappointment, running off down her street. Eventually coming her to senses, Malaika visits Ms. Chin the tailor lady, coming aw ...more
Allyson Bogie
Sep 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
My five year old and I have read this book three times in the last two days. The illustrations are bright and appealing, and the story has an engaging and relatable plot line, even for kids who do not have the same experience as Malaika. Malaika lives in an unnamed English-speaking Caribbean country with her Grandma. Her mom has gone to Canada to earn money and Malaika and her grandma are expecting money that the mom promised to send for Malaika's Carnival costume. The money doesn't come but the ...more
I went to a "Multicultural Children’s Literature for Joy and Justice" Meetup @ Connolly Branch of the BPL (JP) and arrived early, so I browsed in their children's room. I really appreciated how many of the books on display featured PoCs.

On the opening page, Grandmother says to the narrator, "Girl, I think you is definitely my granddaughter for true," and I worried about whether the author was a white person who was sort of faking dialect (especially since the book wasn't clearly-to-me situated m
Yoo Kyung Sung
Aug 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Many families experience separation due to financial issues. This is common in global contexts. Grandparents raise kids whether parents come home in the evening or once a year. It brings up an issue of family structure and how people cope with atypical family structure. Beautiful illustration and children's agency to embrace they feel sad and happy about.
Katie F
May 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Malaika’s Costume by Nadia L. Hohn (illustrated by Irene Luxbacher) was written and published in Canada and takes place in the Caribbean. This alone was intriguing and made it a good fit for international trade book week. The plot of this story is that Malaika’s mom is supposed to send her money for an outfit for the carnival. After waiting and waiting it becomes clear she is not sending money, Malaika begins to lose interest in the carnival all together as she does not have a costume “Everyone ...more
Understandably, Malaika misses her mother who is working in Canada so that she can save money to bring her daughter and mother to live with her. She is particularly aware of her mother's absence during Carnival time in the Caribbean. After all, her mother uses dresses her for dancing in the streets, and Malaika expected her to send money for a costume. When that doesn't happen and her grandmother suggests using one of her own old costumes, Malaika becomes upset. However, with the help of a frien ...more
Juliana Lee
When money from Mummy doesn't arrive in the mail, Grandma offers her old costume for the carnival. But they young girl is angry and ashamed to wear an old hand-me-down when her friends all have new costumes. She storms out of the house, but eventually realizes that her grandmother is just trying to help when she hears Grandma's favorite song. She goes to the tailor and asks for scraps to take home. Together, she and Grandma transform the old costume into a beautiful peacock. Then she marches and ...more
Edward Sullivan
Jun 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's Carnival time in the Caribbean, which makes Malaika miss her mother who is working in Canada even more so. She is particularly aware of her mother's absence during Carnival time in the Caribbean. Lacking money and a new costume, a neighbor gives her some fabric, and she and her grandmother fashion a beautiful costume that Malaika is proud to wear as she struts through the street. Illustrated with beautiful, bright, vibrant mixed media art.
Evan Childress
Aug 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Malaika is excited to celebrate Carnival, even though it is the first Carnival since Mommy moved to Canada to find a better job. The money she promised has not arrived yet, and Malaika and her grandmother are waiting and waiting so they can make Malaika's Carnival costume. The dialectical language combined with the colorful collage style illustrations transport the reader to a place of community, family, and celebration.
Carnival and making do.
Apr 28, 2016 rated it did not like it
While the story line within the book was nice, the grammar within this book was very unpleasant and ruined any possibility of enjoying the book.

Anna Coats
Nov 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: j-picture-books
I can't tell you how happy I am to finally read a good children's book about Carnival. I wish there had been a book like this when I was still a child.
Nov 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
Nice to see a strong story about family separation and living with a parent far away.
Kaitlyn Luzar
Malaika’s mother leaves for Canada to earn money for the family. With the money her mother earns, she was exciting to buy a new costume for the carnival! The money from her mother never made it back home, and she was instantly filled with emotions. She was upset and knew that every other kid already had a costume. Her grandmother gives her a solution! This story teaches young readers the different emotions one might go through when things do not go as planned and how to react towards the situati ...more
This book is about a little black girl preparing for carnival with her grandmother. This is the first year the little girl is experiencing carnival without her mother. Her mother moved to Canada, so she can make more money for her family. Usually her mother makes her carnival dresses for her, but this year she was all on her own. This made the little girl upset and made her think she was not going to be as "pretty" as the other girls. Her dress was not going to be professionally made like the ot ...more
Nicole B.
Malaika’s Costume is an international picture book published in Canada. Listed in USBBY (United States Board on Books for Young People), this book can really provide the reader with a diverse perspective.

The story takes place in the Caribbean where Malaika and her Grandma are left to find Malaika a costume for the Carnival without her mom. Malaika’s mom goes to Canada to provide financial support for the family and doesn’t follow through with her promise to send money home. Will Malaika find a
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
#Form #function #creativity lovely story about a "left behind" child whose mother is a migrant worker in Canada. Great illustrations. Creatively solves a problem.
It’s time for Carnival and Malaika’s mother had promised to send money for a costume. She recently has moved far away to Canada to make more money. Sadly, the money hasn’t come. Malaika is upset and her grandmother pulls out her own old costume. Malaika becomes even more upset, throws it off and runs out into the village. She settles down, and asks a tailor lady who gives her a scrap bag of wonderfully colorful and shiny cloth. The creativity begins, with Malaika and her Grandmother making a co ...more
Christine Turner
It's Carnival time. The first Carnival since Malaika's mother moved away to find a good job and provide for Malaika and her grandmother. Her mother promised she would send money for a costume, but when the money doesn't arrive, will Malaika still be able to dance in the parade?
Disappointed and upset at her grandmother's hand-me-down costume, Malaika leaves the house, running into Ms. Chin, the tailor, who offers Malaika a bag of scrap fabric. With her grandmother's help, Malaika creates a patchw
Laura West
Malaikas Costume is about a little girl, Malaika, and her first Carnival since her mother moved away to find a better job to provide for Malaika and her grandmother. Her mother promised she would send money for a costume, but when the money doesn’t arrive Malaikas grandmother gives her a second hand costume much to her disappointment. My favorite part of the book was the illustrations and Malaikas use of storytelling to maintain the connection with her mother, via letters sent to Canada. Eventho ...more
Taylor Maiese
This is a story about family, community, and tradition. Malaika's mom moves away to find a good job to pay for her and her grandmother to live. Malaika's mom is unable to send money to help buy her a costume for the big carnival so Ms. Chin gives her a bag of scrap fabric and her and her grandmother make her a beautiful costume so she can dance at the carnival. It is touching that Ms. Chin would give her the fabric to help make her a new costume. It's also touching to see the sacrifice her mom m ...more
Sep 23, 2016 rated it liked it
The illustrations in this book are stunning. The story is not new - there's a costume parade coming up, and our narrator has nothing to wear - but there are enough fresh twists involved that it's not tired or boring. The backdrop of a missing mom - gone to Canada to look for work - gives this story a deeper theme than most others that follow the same plot.
The book is written in dialect, which is very cool to just read, but could prove tricky for read-alouds. (I wouldn't be able to use it in stor
Jennifer Miera
I liked the natural language in this book about a little girl wanting a costume for Carnival: "Girl, think you is definitely my granddaughter for true" and liked the warmth between this little girl, her family and neighbors. That said, I wasn't particularly drawn in by the artwork and I felt like the story could have used a nonfiction summary about Carnival as a tailpiece. I also felt like I wanted to know where this little girl lived - other than somewhere in the Caribbean.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 31, 2016 added it
Shelves: picture-books
A young girl is waiting for her mom in Canada to send her money for her carnival dress. When Mummy's doesn't send money, she has to find a way to use her Grandma's old dress.
Self-expression and empowerment, good book.
Marissa Elera
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Well written! The beautiful illustrations are terribly out of focus though. It looks like it was copied on a copier machine.
Wendy J. Whittingham
Dec 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Just delightful. I loved the language .... especially lines like "clap-hand" church and "cassava chips and jelly coconut." A fun read!
Malaika wants to look as dazzling as a peacock for Carnival. With ingenuity, Malaika and Grandma create a costume that makes Malaika want to "dance, dance, dance."
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From the age of six years old, Nadia L Hohn began writing stories, drawing, and making books. Her first two books, Music and Media in the Sankofa Series were published by Rubicon Publishing in 2015. Her award-winning first picture book, Malaika's Costume was published in 2016 and its sequel Malaika's Winter Carnival 2017 by Groundwood Books. Nadia was 1 of 6 Black Canadian Writers to Watch in 2018 ...more

Other books in the series

Malaika (3 books)
  • Malaika’s Winter Carnival
  • Malaika's Surprise

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