A simple way to get acquainted with Kwanzaa.
“Hooray! Hooray! It’s time to get ready for Kwanzaa.”
During the seven days of Kwanzaa, we celebrate the importance of family, friends, and community. This warm and lively introduction to a very special holiday will help even the youngest children join in!
Author and illustrator Karen Katz’s wonderful series of picture books for the very young offer a simple and fun way to get familiar with the traditions of holiday celebrations from different cultures.
This book is laid out simply with the words of Kwanzaa, definitions, and telling how they apply. The illustrations are cute and the book is informative!
I like Karen Katz’s signature illustration style. It may be because so few people are familiar with Kwanzaa, but so many books about Kwanzaa simply explain what each day of Kwanzaa is and means and this falls solidly into that category. A fine simple explanation of Kwanzaa, but it left me wanting something more.
Something about me
I have always been interested in folk art from around the world:
Indian miniatures, Mexican ceramics, fabrics, Chagall, Matisse, children’s art, and promitive painting, and I love to paint and experiment with pattern, texture, collage and color.
The careers I’ve had – as a costume designer, a quilt maker, a fabric artist, and a graphic designer – have taken all these interests into account. Looking back, I can see that these passions and career choices have played a large part in influencing me to become a children’s book author and illustrator.
But most importantly, it was after my husband I adopted our daughter from Guatemala that I was inspired to do a children’s book for her. My first book, Over the Moon, was the story of that magical experience of welcoming our daughter Lena into our lives. I painted, I drew, I collaged, and I wrote , and after working very hard . . . a beautiful book was born! Twenty-two books later, my daughter – fourteen years old – still is an inspiration for me.
I am fascinated by babies and little kids. The simplest words and gestures can make them laugh. Sometimes standing in line at the supermarket and watchin kids in grocery carts, my best ideas are born. I am fasinated by people from all over the world and what they look like and how they live and the differences that make us all unique.
When an idea pops into my head I ask these questions: — will a child want to read this book? — Will a parent want to read this book with their child? — Will this book make a parent and child feel something? — Is there something visual here that will hold a child’s interest? — Will a child see something in a different way after reading this book? — If the answer is yes, then I know I’m on the right track.
I am very lucky to get to do what I do. Everyday I go into my studio and have fun. Don’t get me wrong, some days are very frustrating. Sometimes the colors are all wrong and the words don’t sound right. But after I work at it for a while . . . and try to do it in a different way. . . and think. . . and change the words or colors . . . and try some more. . . suddenly, there it is – a great page of writign, or a great illustration..
And nothing is more satisfying than that!