Malaika’s Surprise

Malaika’s Surprise

Written by: Hohn, Nadia L.
Illustrated by: Luxbacher, Irene
ages 3 to 7 / grades P to 2

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When Malaika finds out she is going to have a new baby brother or sister, she worries that her mother will forget about her. But a surprise arrives on Malaika’s birthday that gives her more reason to celebrate her family’s love.

It’s summertime, and Malaika and Adèle are enjoying playing carnival in their bright costumes, dancing and laughing in the sunshine. But when Mummy announces that they will soon have a new baby brother or sister, Malaika is unsure how to feel about another change in her family. Will Mummy forget about me?

Back at school, Malaika is excited to see her teacher and classmates, and makes friends with a new girl who has recently arrived from a faraway country, just like Malaika. Then on her birthday, a surprise arrives to remind Malaika of the importance of family, and the story ends with a celebration of her family’s love.

Malaika’s Surprise is filled with the same warmth and charm as the first two books in the series, with Nadia L. Hohn’s enchanting prose, written in a blend of standard English and Caribbean patois, and Irene Luxbacher’s colorful collage illustrations.

Key Text Features
glossary
key text features

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

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.4
Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

When Malaika finds out she is going to have a new baby brother or sister, she worries that her mother will forget about her. But a surprise arrives on Malaika’s birthday that gives her more reason to celebrate her family’s love.

It’s summertime, and Malaika and Adèle are enjoying playing carnival in their bright costumes, dancing and laughing in the sunshine. But when Mummy announces that they will soon have a new baby brother or sister, Malaika is unsure how to feel about another change in her family. Will Mummy forget about me?

Back at school, Malaika is excited to see her teacher and classmates, and makes friends with a new girl who has recently arrived from a faraway country, just like Malaika. Then on her birthday, a surprise arrives to remind Malaika of the importance of family, and the story ends with a celebration of her family’s love.

Malaika’s Surprise is filled with the same warmth and charm as the first two books in the series, with Nadia L. Hohn’s enchanting prose, written in a blend of standard English and Caribbean patois, and Irene Luxbacher’s colorful collage illustrations.

Key Text Features
glossary
key text features

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

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.4
Ask and answer questions about unknown words in a text.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Mar 1, 2021
Specifications 32 pages | 10 in x 9 in
Written By

NADIA L. HOHN is a writer and educator. Her first picture book, Malaika’s Costume, won the Helen Isobel Sissons Canadian Children’s Story Award and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Children’s Literature Award. She is also the author of Malaika’s Winter Carnival; A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes; Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, illustrated by Gustavo Mazali; and two titles in the Sankofa series — Music and Media. Nadia’s writing is inspired by her childhood memories, Jamaican heritage, Black culture, world travels, and social issues. She lives in Toronto.

Illustrated 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.

Written By

NADIA L. HOHN is a writer and educator. Her first picture book, Malaika’s Costume, won the Helen Isobel Sissons Canadian Children’s Story Award and the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO) Children’s Literature Award. She is also the author of Malaika’s Winter Carnival; A Likkle Miss Lou: How Jamaican Poet Louise Bennett Coverley Found Her Voice, illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes; Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter, illustrated by Gustavo Mazali; and two titles in the Sankofa series — Music and Media. Nadia’s writing is inspired by her childhood memories, Jamaican heritage, Black culture, world travels, and social issues. She lives in Toronto.

Illustrated 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 2
Reading Levels Guided Reading N
Fountas & Pinnel Text Level N
Key Text Features glossary
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.2.3
CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.4

Nominated, Forest of Reading — Blue Spruce Award, 2022

[A]n intimate and culturally rich picture book.

” —Kirkus Reviews

“[A] joyful read.” —Huffington Post

A warm portrayal of a loving, close-knit community.

” —Horn Book

[T]his picture book celebrates the expansion of a family we’ve grown to love.

” —Quill & Quire

An enjoyable, feel-good read for young children.

” —School Library Journal

Malaika’s beautiful interracial family and new friendships make this story a powerful one.

” —Toronto Star

Malaika’s Surprise offers a refreshing new sibling narrative … [the] joyful, textured illustrations are busy and inviting, like the other titles in this series, and the blend of English and Caribbean patois makes Malaika’s voice sing.

” —Canadian Children's Book News

Much of our lives, like Malaika's, involves change and a newness of circumstances. But what Malaika's Surprise demonstrates is that, though newness and change can be stressful because of the anticipation of the unknown, the reality is often not as bad as expected, especially with the knowledge that others care.

” —CanLit for LittleCanadians