Malaika’s Costume

Malaika’s Costume

Written by: Hohn, Nadia L.
Written by: Luxbacher, Irene
ages 3 to 7 / grades P to 3

Malaika’s mother can’t buy her a carnival costume — will she still be able to dance in the parade?

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, running into Ms. Chin, the tailor, who offers Malaika a bag of scrap fabric. With her grandmother’s help, Malaika creates a patchwork rainbow peacock costume, and dances proudly in the parade.

A heartwarming story about family, community and the celebration of Carnival, Nadia Hohn’s warm and colloquial language and Irene Luxbacher’s vibrant collage-style illustrations make this a strikingly original picture book.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.6
With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the story.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.1
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

Malaika’s mother can’t buy her a carnival costume — will she still be able to dance in the parade?

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, running into Ms. Chin, the tailor, who offers Malaika a bag of scrap fabric. With her grandmother’s help, Malaika creates a patchwork rainbow peacock costume, and dances proudly in the parade.

A heartwarming story about family, community and the celebration of Carnival, Nadia Hohn’s warm and colloquial language and Irene Luxbacher’s vibrant collage-style illustrations make this a strikingly original picture book.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.6
With prompting and support, name the author and illustrator of a story and define the role of each in telling the story.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.1
Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd - Mar 1, 2016
Specifications 32 pages | 10 in x 9 in

Praise for author Nadia Hohn, illustrator Irene Luxbacher and Malaika’s Costume:

Commended TD Grade One Book Giveaway Selection, 2021
USBBY's Outstanding International Books List
Américas Award Honorable Mention
School Library Journal Best Picture Books
A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year
TD Summer Reading Club Recommended Read


"A wholly earned celebration." — Kirkus Reviews

"A fun choice for libraries seeking books about creativity in general or the Caribbean in particular." — School Library Journal

"Like a rainbow peacock itself, the illustrations in this book burst with a frenzy of colors and textures." — Booklist Online

"The text is told in the colloquial voice of the little girl, and readers will quickly and easily feel a part of her circle. Carnival is an important holiday in many cultures, and it's good to have a picture book to celebrate it." — Horn Book

"This is actually a realistic portrait of the consequences of global immigration and economics. But it’s also the story of how much little girls love their moms. Beautiful." — Globe and Mail

"Hohn employs a unique style of voice that is both figuratively and literaly lyrical." — Canadian Children's Book News

"Malaika’s Costume is a highly recommended story that celebrates the different cultures of the world and the emotional journey of a young child." — CM Magazine

". . . an engaging, poignant story with exquisite taste and wonderful details." — Kinderlit

Audience ages 3 to 7 / grades P to 3
Reading Levels Guided Reading N
Lexile AD610L
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.6
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.1