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Bilal Cooks Daal

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  405 ratings  ·  97 reviews
Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing.

Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published June 4th 2019 by Salaam Reads
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Average rating 4.17  · 
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Aisha Saeed
Jun 08, 2019 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Hey all-- I wanted to pop over here and share the inspiration for this book with all of you! When my middle son was two (he's 6 now), his teacher at his preschool asked the kids to share their favorite foods. He came home baffled because no one knew what daal was. I sent him to school the next day with daal for the kids to try and dry lentils as well for the kids to touch and feel. He was so proud and happy to share a part of his life with his classmates and from that this story was born. Over a ...more
This was ridiculously cute and my stomach is growling with the desire for some daal. RTC

HOW PRECIOUS IS THIS COVER? Too precious for words. I CANNOT wait to read about Bilal and his daal. I never thought I'd be putting a picture book on my most anticipated releases list, but here I am, doing that very thing. I would read anything Aisha Saeed writes, I do not care about the genre or age range.
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
We adored this book, and tonight my four-year-old is going to help me cook daal using the recipe from the book. His idea.
Elora K
Oct 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Something that my sister and I have been STRUGGLING to find is South Asian picture books that don’t focus on religion. When we find the rare book that doesn’t, it ends up focusing on a negative aspect of our cultures—which like, sure, these books will help some kids, there’s always a need for them. But the religious-focused ones always feel like they’re A Lesson To White Kids about diversity (especially with so many art styles that seem like they’re influence by Islamic Art). The other set are ...more
Chance Lee
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-it
A delicious story about patience, friendship, and overcoming nervousness that comes from teaching friends about your culture -- or anything different that they haven't experienced before. Great artwork. I love the way all the spices and flavors hover behind the pictures.
Maleeha Siddiqui
This book is so cute! I love that Bilal cooks daal with his dad and invites all of his friends over to help make and eat it. I'm Pakistani, so I know how long this dish takes to make. However, there's nothing better than a steaming plate of rice with freshly cooked daal. I really want some now! My daughter loves looking at the illustrations. I just might make daal with the recipe in the back with her :)

This book rules. The text is about Bilal preparing daal for his family & friends, and about the patience required to make a long-cooking food. The illustrations are so lovely and there's a recipe in the back! My friend is always sending me snaps when she's cooking with her 3 year old, and patience is quite a challenge! I think they (and everyone) would love this story.
Jennifer Bacall
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing

Aisha Saeed is no stranger to writing. Her first book Written in the Stars is a lyrical and lovely young adult book about one girl’s struggles between honoring her family traditions and following the future that she wants for herself. Her second title, Amal Unbound, received critical acclaim and was on dozens of top books of the year lists.

July saw the release of Ms. Saeed’s first picture book, Bilal Cooks Daal and it is a delight.

Bilal cooks daal

Bilal’s friends have never heard of his favorite
Sep 28, 2019 rated it liked it
Bilal Cooks Daal
The title of the book made me attracted towards the book because Daal. Daal is an Urdu word and is a type of grain dish which Indian and Pakistani cultures cook. Therefore, this book is multicultural. In this book the father cooks Daal along with his son and his friends. Unlike American food, this food take hours to cook which teaches patience. All his friends from American culture that never tried Daal before liked Daal. From this book, the reader can easily understand about
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm so jealous of but also happy that young toddlers and children are growing upmwith picture books or chapter books that have stories that they can identify with and see themselves in and relate to. Now that there are authors like Aisha Saaed pushing for more diverse books and others putting out books that have characters and words that kids of immigrants can relate to, is such a refreshing and hopeful sign. Can't wait to get my children (who don't exist yet lol) similar books.
Six year old Bilal invites his friends to join him and his father as they prepared his favorite dish, a slow-cooked dish lentil dish from South Asia. The dish takes a while to cook, and more of his friends join in play together as the dish cooks. Once prepared everyone gathers to enjoy it. A recipe book is located in the back of the book.
Aug 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
Bilal and his friends help Bilal's dad cook daal. It takes all day to cook so they swim and play and ask numerous times if it is ready. When it finally is ready, the friends are excited and a bit nervous to try this food that is new to them and looks and smells different. But everyone loves it and Bilal is so glad he cooked daal and shared it with his friends. Includes a recipe.
Bilal Cooks Daal is going to my collection of mentor texts for realistic fiction and small moment writing for K-2 students. Kids can learn so much about using repetition and playing with the passage of time from this text.
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Such a lovely book! Wonderful illustrations and very welcome diversity on showing other cultures in a natural and inclusive way, as it should be!
Alex  Baugh
I loved this book and now I can't wait to make Daal (I've already bought the ingredients).
Jun 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The illustrations in this book are everything. I love this story.
Danica Midlil
We made the daal recipe after reading the book and it was a great experience for our whole family.
Apr 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Adorable picture book about a boy named Bilal who, along with his father, shows a couple of neighborhood kids how to cook daal. Because daal takes quite awhile to cook, the friends have to find other things to do to pass the time. The illustrations are bright and fun, and Bilal is especially cute. This would be great to read in a classroom as it includes a recipe for daal, and the students could reenact the book by keeping busy/doing activities while it cooks in a slow cooker. Diverse cast of ...more
Alyssa Gudenburr
A very cute story about a boy who introduces his friends to his favorite food...daal. This would be a great story to read to lower elementary students about different family recipes. There is even a few facts and recipe instructions at the end of the story.
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Representation: Representation: Pakistani MC, diverse cast of side characters

From the author ofWritten in the StarsandAmal Unbound, Aisha Saeed debuts her picture book about Bilal, a young boy who wants to share a dish meaningful not only to him, but to his Pakistani culture. With friends from around the neighborhood popping up and curious about the titular dish, Bilal wonders if they'll like it as much as he does.

What I Enjoyed

Aisha skillfully conveyed how much emotion there was for Bilal
The Library Lady
This is an okay little story about a child sharing his family's ethnic dish with friends from other backgrounds that is ruined by the sort of crappy computer generated art that has become endemic to the children's book world. My assistant, a talented artist helped me figure it out:

All the characters have oversized round heads, the same 2-3 noses, and ROUND EYES. Their eyes may have different colors, but they are the same eyes. Is there a human being on this earth that has perfectly circular
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed, illustrated by Anoosha Syed. PICTURE BOOK. Simon and Schuster, 2019. $18. 9781534418103



Bilal is excited that today his dad is cooking daal and his friends want to help and join in the feast. But daal looks different than anything they are used to and smells kind of different. Plus it takes a long time to cook. But Bilal distracts his friends with all kinds of activities as they wait for the dinner treat to
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
My three year old loved this so much we read it about 20 times in the first two days we had it home from the library (although I think he secretly hoped they'd pick a different kind of daal - he kept wanting "orange"). I loved it too!

Great parts include Bilal feeling just a little worried about how his friends will like daal and the end when there are REALLY good food description words. A great way to get kids to try and talk about new foods is to talk flavors, and this book really has that
Gina McNiel
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
After reading Amal Unbound to a group of 4th graders who hung on every word, I knew Aisha Saeed could make a masterpiece for any age group. Bilal Cooks Daal proves that she can relate to a younger generation by weaving in her story so many components of love, kindness, understanding and acceptance. We sometimes forget what it means to be a small child and what a big deal it is to have your friends accept you and your family just as you are and Aisha scores big with a story that is not only ...more
My mouth watered as I read this fun picture book about a tasty Pakistani dish that takes time and patience to enjoy. Bilal's dad gets to work early on dinner, and when all his friends wonder what he's cooking they all get to come in and help get things started. But after it's all loaded in the crock pot, Bilal's dad sends everybody outside to play for the rest of the day. When it's finally time to eat, everyone wonders just what it will taste like. There's a recipe at the end of the book and ...more
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Bilal, a South Asian child, shares a bit of his culture with friends when his dad asks him to help make daal. The friends come along, curious as to why it will take so long to cook dinner. I love that this is a little lesson in patience as well, and that his friends have generated so much excitement about the daal they helped prepare, that a group of neighborhood kids come along to try this yummy dish. Bonus: There's a recipe for daal in the back and a kid-friendly author's note as well. Just ...more
Oct 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love everything that this book stands for including the inspiration that Saeed explained in her review/posting underneath this book. Without it though, I totally got it. Not only is this about the patience of good things coming to those who wait, it's also about an appreciation of food from all cultures, sharing and learning from one another, and family. Plus that food is what brings people together as Bilal is sharing his food with his friends and teaching them something along the way.

Melanie Hughes
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Very cute, and it made me hungry! The book manages to be both highly specific and universal, and I think it would grow well with kids, too -- I could read it to my 3-year-old and she responded with interest, but an older child could read the labels on the pictured jars of daal (chana, urad, etc) and try branching out into different recipes besides just the one included in the back.

My only quibble is I wish I knew how to properly pronounce the characters' names or family titles (Bilal, Abu,
Aug 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
If you are looking for a book to introduce your students to a new concept (food in this case) or patience, then this is a good book for this. Beautiful paintings, simple text with a theme of being patient while waiting for the daal to cook. Near the end the reader sees: "Daal is tiny. Daal is tough. But with a little time, and a lot of patience, it becomes the softest, tastiest, best thing in the whole wide world. And the best part is sharing with with friends." I appreciate the author sharing ...more
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