BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Seven Special Somethings: A Nowruz Story by Adib Khorram, illustrated by Zainab Faidhi [in Shelf Awareness]

Persian American Adib Khorram joyfully and playfully celebrates his heritage in Seven Special Somethings, his picture book debut, following his award-winning Darius the Great YA duology. Khorram is partnered with fellow debut picture book creator Zainab Faidhi, an Iraq-born artist whose animation background provides each page with boundless energy. The result is a lively #OwnVoices celebration of family and culture.

Kian, accompanied by his loyal kitty, gleefully runs down the stairs, so excited he drops his teddy bear along the way. Nowruz – the Persian New Year observed on the first day of spring – is “here at last!” Maman, Baba, and Kian all have their preparatory tasks – cooking, cleaning, and sorting socks. In the living room, Maman has already set the sofreh haft-seen, a table laden with seven special somethings: “The Seven S’s … are symbols,” Maman reminds. “We hope they will make us happy in the new year.” Included in the seven are Sabzeh (sprouts) for rebirth, Serkeh (vinegar) for patience and Sumaq (spice) for sunshine. Convinced that more S’s will make the “new year even happier,” Kian attempts to add his cat, Sonny, and wreaks unintended havoc. With Maman busy cooking and Baba gone to pick up the grandparents, resourceful Kian sets out to gather seven more S’s to make the haft-seen resplendently festive once more.

Khorram presents an irresistible love letter to traditions that brings together multiple generations, toothsome feasts, and, perhaps, the best S of all: an infectiously shared Smile that “will make us happiest of all in the new year.” Though Faidhi’s winsome illustrations might keep Maman too long in the kitchen, young readers will undoubtedly enjoy Kian’s exuberance and thoughtful ingenuity.

Discover: In Adib Khorram’s exuberant picture book debut, a rambunctious boy celebrates the Persian New Year with family, food, and smiles.

Review: “Children’s & Young Adult,” Shelf Awareness, March 5, 2021

Readers: Children

Published: 2021


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