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
Written By
Written By

IRENE LUXBACHER is an artist and author living in Toronto. With more than fifteen years’ experience as an illustrator, Irene has received many awards for her children’s books. She has written and illustrated Deep Underwater (“Masterful artwork and nuanced verse” —Kirkus, starred review) and Mr. Frank, which was selected for the USBBY Outstanding International Books Honor List. Her illustrations for Malaika’s Costume and Malaika’s Winter Carnival by Nadia L. Hohn have also been highly acclaimed, and her illustrations for The Imaginary Garden by Andrew Larsen were shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award.

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

Commended, Commended TD Grade One Book Giveaway Selection, 2021, 2021

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

Commended, CCBC Best Books for Children and Teens, starred selection, 2016

Commended, School Library Journal Best Picture Books, 2016

Commended, USBBY's Outstanding International Books List, 2017

Commended, OLA Best Bets Honourable Mention, 2016

Runner-up, Américas Award Honorable Mention, 2017

Commended, Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Books of the Year, 2017

“A wholly earned celebration.” —Kirkus

“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

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

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