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Seven Candles for Kwanzaa Hardcover – October 6, 1993
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Although Kwanzaa commemorates an ancient African harvest ritual, it is a relatively new holiday in North America. Seven Candles for Kwanzaa comfortably explains the origins, language, and daily themes of this warm and festive seven-day holiday. Author Andrea Davis Pinkney's tone is that of a friendly, well-informed teacher, which is fine considering the purpose of the book. Ideas for daily Kwanzaa rituals abound. For example, on the fourth day, in honor of ujamaa (cooperative family economics), families can use the coins that they've saved over the year to buy a gift for the family "like a clock that chimes or a hallway mirror." Illustrator Brian Pinkney takes on the more colorful role of storyteller with his scratchboard drawings of a family in the midst of daily Kwanzaa activities and celebrations. Each domestic scene is framed in an earth-toned border of traditional African patterns--bridging the two continents page by page. The thoughtful details and human interactions in each drawing speak to the core meaning of the holiday, that of honoring one's family, community, and heritage. (Ages 7 and older) --Gail Hudson
From Kirkus Reviews
An introduction to the history, symbols, and customary celebration of this African-American holiday. Scratchboard illustrations stress the importance of Kwanzaa as a family event with warmly colored, harmoniously composed domestic scenes. Cultural cross-connections are drawn in the first two pictures (an American family exchanges gifts, including a length of kente cloth; then identically posed figures are transposed to a traditional African village) and enhanced by borders in African motifs. The author briefly discusses the Seven Principles, suggesting activities for Kwanzaa and through the year. Similar in information to Chocolate's Kwanzaa (1990) and My First Kwanzaa Book (1992), but the visual riches and less didactic tone here are superior. Useful four-item reading list. (Nonfiction/Picture book. 7-9) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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I would think twice before spending your hard earned money on this book. In my opinion Seven Candles for Kwanzaa was about 5 pages too long. I would make sure you are really into Kwanzaa before you get this book. And if you are this is the book for you. No mater what you celebrate, it is good to be familiar what other cultures do.