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Sami's Special Gift

An Eid al-Adha Story

Illustrated by Hüseyin Sönmezay
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Hardcover
$17.99 US
8.44"W x 10.38"H x 0.41"D   | 15 oz | 32 per carton
On sale Apr 16, 2024 | 32 Pages | 978-1-62354-296-2
Age 3-7 years | Preschool - 2
Reading Level: Lexile AD550L
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It’s Eid al-Adha, and Sami wants to celebrate. But this year is different after his grandfather’s passing. A touching picture book about kindness towards others.

Sami worries that the Eid al-Adha carnival won’t be as fun without Dede (his grandfather), who died recently. Sami’s grandmother sends him one of Dede’s ties, and Sami vows to never take it off. 

After going to the mosque for Eid prayer, Sami’s family stop at the shelter where Baba and Anne volunteer. Can an unexpected encounter and a special gift help Sami change his mind about celebrating? 

The gift of giving and putting yourself in someone else's shoes shines through in this engaging, poignant holiday story.
♦ A gift to all readers! Sami’s special day starts with a gift from his late grandfather, mosque for prayers and a buffet; a stop at the butcher to get food to share with a local homeless shelter; and, finally, a carnival to celebrate the holiday. Readers who celebrate Eid al-Adha will enjoy seeing their annual tradition, while readers who do not practice Islam will get a peek into a modern way to celebrate an ancient holiday. Young readers will enjoy the colorful illustrations and following the journey Sami takes with his younger sister Sara throughout the day. Adults will love to use this story as a model to broach conversations about traditions, as well as deeper themes of loss, philanthropy, and homelessness. Back matter contains a glossary and definitions of Eid al-Adha and homeless shelters. VERDICT An easy recommendation for all libraries. Add it to elementary and high school shelves.

School Library Journal, starred review


A grieving child finds a reason to celebrate on Eid al-Adha.
It’s Eid al-Adha, Sami’s favorite holiday. Every year Sami’s family goes to a carnival, but he’s having trouble getting into the spirit of things this year, because his grandfather recently passed away. Just as his family is getting ready to leave for the Eid prayer at the mosque, Sami’s parents reveal a surprise gift from his grandmother in Türkiye: his grandpa’s favorite Eid necktie! After the prayer, it’s time to head to the carnival, but first the family stops by a homeless shelter where they volunteer. A young refugee sees Sami’s tie and is wistfully reminded of his favorite toy. Sami reflects on his own blessings and decides that giving will bring as much joy as receiving. Focusing on a holiday that’s less widely written about than Ramadan, Yuskel makes an important contribution, penning a story that’s both a mirror for young Muslims and a window for those unfamiliar with Muslim traditions. The message of giving generously and showing gratitude shines through. Sönmezay’s illustrations are soft and spare in some places and richly detailed in others, with the expressiveness of the characters sweetly captured on each page. Sami and his family are Turkish; his community is a diverse one, and the little boy Sami helps is light-skinned. An author’s note thoughtfully provides additional context about Eid al-Adha and homeless shelters.
Caring and sharing drive this charming tale. 

Kirkus Reviews


M. O. Yuksel is the award-winning author of In My Mosque; One Wish: Fatima al-Fihri and the World's Oldest University; and Ramadan Kareem. She was born in Türkiye, raised in New York City, and now lives in New Jersey. She loves celebrating Eid al-Adha and going to the carnival with her family.

Hüseyin Sönmezay is a freelance illustrator. He was born in Bulgaria and moved to Türkiye when he was young. He attended vocational school with a concentration in graphic design. He has worked with local and international agencies and publishers and has illustrated more than forty picture books as well as various magazine illustrations. He currently lives in Izmir with his wife and two daughters, and this is his first book in the United States. www.huseyinsonmezay.com

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About

It’s Eid al-Adha, and Sami wants to celebrate. But this year is different after his grandfather’s passing. A touching picture book about kindness towards others.

Sami worries that the Eid al-Adha carnival won’t be as fun without Dede (his grandfather), who died recently. Sami’s grandmother sends him one of Dede’s ties, and Sami vows to never take it off. 

After going to the mosque for Eid prayer, Sami’s family stop at the shelter where Baba and Anne volunteer. Can an unexpected encounter and a special gift help Sami change his mind about celebrating? 

The gift of giving and putting yourself in someone else's shoes shines through in this engaging, poignant holiday story.

Praise

♦ A gift to all readers! Sami’s special day starts with a gift from his late grandfather, mosque for prayers and a buffet; a stop at the butcher to get food to share with a local homeless shelter; and, finally, a carnival to celebrate the holiday. Readers who celebrate Eid al-Adha will enjoy seeing their annual tradition, while readers who do not practice Islam will get a peek into a modern way to celebrate an ancient holiday. Young readers will enjoy the colorful illustrations and following the journey Sami takes with his younger sister Sara throughout the day. Adults will love to use this story as a model to broach conversations about traditions, as well as deeper themes of loss, philanthropy, and homelessness. Back matter contains a glossary and definitions of Eid al-Adha and homeless shelters. VERDICT An easy recommendation for all libraries. Add it to elementary and high school shelves.

School Library Journal, starred review


A grieving child finds a reason to celebrate on Eid al-Adha.
It’s Eid al-Adha, Sami’s favorite holiday. Every year Sami’s family goes to a carnival, but he’s having trouble getting into the spirit of things this year, because his grandfather recently passed away. Just as his family is getting ready to leave for the Eid prayer at the mosque, Sami’s parents reveal a surprise gift from his grandmother in Türkiye: his grandpa’s favorite Eid necktie! After the prayer, it’s time to head to the carnival, but first the family stops by a homeless shelter where they volunteer. A young refugee sees Sami’s tie and is wistfully reminded of his favorite toy. Sami reflects on his own blessings and decides that giving will bring as much joy as receiving. Focusing on a holiday that’s less widely written about than Ramadan, Yuskel makes an important contribution, penning a story that’s both a mirror for young Muslims and a window for those unfamiliar with Muslim traditions. The message of giving generously and showing gratitude shines through. Sönmezay’s illustrations are soft and spare in some places and richly detailed in others, with the expressiveness of the characters sweetly captured on each page. Sami and his family are Turkish; his community is a diverse one, and the little boy Sami helps is light-skinned. An author’s note thoughtfully provides additional context about Eid al-Adha and homeless shelters.
Caring and sharing drive this charming tale. 

Kirkus Reviews


Author

M. O. Yuksel is the award-winning author of In My Mosque; One Wish: Fatima al-Fihri and the World's Oldest University; and Ramadan Kareem. She was born in Türkiye, raised in New York City, and now lives in New Jersey. She loves celebrating Eid al-Adha and going to the carnival with her family.

Hüseyin Sönmezay is a freelance illustrator. He was born in Bulgaria and moved to Türkiye when he was young. He attended vocational school with a concentration in graphic design. He has worked with local and international agencies and publishers and has illustrated more than forty picture books as well as various magazine illustrations. He currently lives in Izmir with his wife and two daughters, and this is his first book in the United States. www.huseyinsonmezay.com