7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #698: Featuring Rahele Jomepour Bell

h1 July 5th, 2020 by jules

(Click to enlarge)


Today, I’ve some spreads from A. E. Ali’s Our Favorite Day of the Year (Salaam Reads, June 2020), illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell. It’s a sweet, earnest story — one about budding kindergarten friendships and learning to accept diverse ways of life. Other than one’s home, where else but in classrooms can we better instill such an appreciation in children? Pictured above are the book’s endpapers, which depict symbols from various cultures around the world.

It’s Musa’s first day of kindergarten, and his teacher (Ms. Gupta) instructs the students in her truly diverse classroom to take a look around the room. She adds, “You don’t know them now, but these faces will become your closest friends this year.” She also tells the class that, for show-and-tell during the school year, everyone will take turns telling students “your favorite day of the year.” (Ms. Gupta’s favorite day is the first day of school.) Musa tells his classmates about Eid; Mo tellse everyone about Rosh Hashanah; Moisés shares Las Posadas; and Kevin shares Pi Day (“My family celebrates science”). The book’s backmatter includes more information on each of these celebrations.

When students share holidays and celebrations, they provide details about the rituals involved, the food eaten, and more. Bell’s illustrations (rendered using digital brushes and scanned, hand-printed textures) are highly patterned and detailed — and reverently depict each culture shared. There’s a happiness that exudes from these spreads; for one, nearly everyone can be seen smiling. It’s truly a picture of what every kindergarten classroom should be — one engaged in hands-on learning and guided by a loving teacher, who is teaching them to open their worlds.

Betsy Bird interviewed Bell over at A Fuse #8 Production last month. You’ll definitely want to read that, which is here. And here are some more spreads from the book. …


“On Musa’s very first day of kindergarten, his teacher, Ms. Gupta, said, ‘Look around the room. You don’t know them now, but these faces will become your closest friends this year.’ Musa looked at the three boys at his table. They didn’t look like his friends.
They were total strangers.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“… Musa perked up at this. The best day of the year was definitely Eid!
Surely Eid was everyone’s favorite day.”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


“A few weeks later, Musa and his mom brought in food and decorations for the class.
EID MUBARAK, said the sign. Musa taught the kids how to say it.”
(Click spread to enlarge)


“‘On Eid al-Fitr my family goes to the mosque to pray early in the morning, and afterward we have a HUGE breakfast. Family and friends come to the house all day,
to eat food and bring presents. …'”
(Click spread to enlarge and read text in its entirety)


(Click cover to enlarge)



OUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR. Text copyright © 2020 by Simon & Schuster, Inc. Illustrations copyright © 2020 by Rahele Jomepour Bell and reproduced by permission of the publisher, Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, New York.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) A new song from Sam:



2) Kelly McWilliams’s Agnes at the End of the World (or, reading about a viral pandemic during a viral pandemic) …



3) This piece from Mike Curato, and it means a lot to me that he mentioned Wild Things in there.

4) This:



5) Walks.

6) Ducks on the water.

7) This, produced by NPR:



What are YOUR kicks this week?

4 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #698: Featuring Rahele Jomepour Bell”

  1. Hi Imps! Hi Rahele! What an awesome celebration of favorite days and customs! That looks wonderful.

    Jules: Thanks for the music and the videos. Please say hello to the ducks for me!

    My kicks from the past week, in no specific order:
    1) Pushing through
    2) Entertainment
    3) Kindness
    4) Hamilton streaming
    5) The Baby-Sitters Club – What a wonderful adaptation!!
    6) Sharing
    7) Caring

  2. Love this book and the detail and color of the illustrations. The cover is eye-catching and totally makes me want to go on this adventure.

    Jules – That first line of Sam’s song is a delightful surprise on first listen! How are you liking Agnes At the End of the World? I saw the NPR piece yesterday – I love that so many people have been sharing it on social media. I’ve watched it a few times now and it is such a powerful way to connect people with our not so distant past. The teenagers especially got to me. I’ve bookmarked the full speech for reading later.

    My kicks this week:
    1) Hamilton!!! Totally subscribed to Disney+ just for Hamilton. Stayed up late to watch it and follow along with Ava DuVernay & John Chu & LMM & other cast members. I love the soundtrack but had never seen the play & it was so so good.
    2) Read “Only Mostly Devastated” by Sophie Gonzalez this past week, then read the Mike Curato piece you linked today and I am so happy the world is changing to make space for all these diverse voices and stories.
    3) Finally saw the Star Wars movies 7, 8 and 9. Baffled as to why everyone hates the Rian Johnson directed The Last Jedi, and why in The Rise of Skywalker director JJ Abrams kept Keri Russell’s face hidden in a helmet as Zori Bliss. They were still fun. I would totally watch a movie with Rey & Zori Bliss adventure movie. Especially if Finn, Poe and Rose can be in it too.
    4) Listening to the Insecure playlist on Spotify with my morning coffee.
    5) Getting to watch a NWSL game today. Bummed the Chicago Red Stars lost, but still a good game.
    6) Raspberries from my garden.
    7) The Oregon Supreme Court did the right thing and granted diploma privilege for this years law school graduates. Progress.
    7.5) Discovering that Jemaine Clement produces and voices a character in an animated kids show called Kiri and Lou – 2 prehistoric bffs.
    Bonus kick – Daisy and her sweet, funny self.

    Have a great week Imps! Stay safe.

  3. Little Willow! Just missed you in cyberspace.
    Hooray for Hamilton streaming!
    And kindness, sharing and caring

  4. Little Willow, I’ve heard great things about the Baby-Sitters Club adaptation. I’ll have to check it out. We plan to watch Hamilton soon. I’m excited to see it for the first time. Also, I think we have four eps of Dark left, by the way.

    Rachel, I am almost done with AGNES. And I really like it. It’s not what I thought it’d be, but I can’t really explain why without giving away spoilers. … I love Jemaine Clement and will have to look up that show. Also, raspberries are the best fruit. Love that 7th kick.

    Have a good week, you all!

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