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Malaika’s Costume

Written by Nadia L. Hohn

& Irene Luxbacher

  • 32 Pages
  • 9781554987542
  • 9" x 10"
  • from grade PK to grade 3
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Holidays & Festivals / General
  • JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Caribbean & Latin America



Publication Date March 01, 2016

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.

Winner of the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario Children's Literature Award 2016

Selected for the CCBC Best Books for Children and Teens, starred selection 2016

Selected for the School Library Journal Best Picture Books 2016

Selected for the USBBY's Outstanding International Books List 2017

Selected for the OLA Best Bets Honourable Mention 2016

Runner-up for the Américas Award Honorable Mention 2017

Selected for the Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year 2017


Nadia L. Hohn

Nadia L. Hohn is a writer, musician and educator. The manuscript of Malaika’s Costume, her first picture book, won the Helen Isobel Sissons Canadian Children’s Story Award. She is also the author of two forthcoming non-fiction titles, Music and Media Studies, part of the Sankofa series, which won the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for Multicultural Non-Fiction. She lives in Toronto, where she teaches French, music and the arts at an alternative elementary school.

Irene Luxbacher

IRENE LUXBACHER is an artist and author living in Toronto, Canada. With more than fifteen years’ experience as an illustrator, Irene has received numerous awards for her children’s instructional and picture books. She wrote and illustrated the picture book Mr. Frank, which was selected for the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List. She recently illustrated Malaika’s Costume and its sequel, Malaika’s Winter Carnival, by Nadia L. Hohn, as well as Mittens to Share by Emil Sher.


"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

"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

"A wholly earned celebration." Kirkus

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

"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

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