The winter break can provide cozy family time for reading with your kids strictly for pleasure free of the pressure of homework and deadlines. Two books worth purchasing or looking up in your local library are “Callaloo: A Jazz Folktale” by Marjuan Canady, and “Celina the Ballerina” by Robin Deneen Smith.
In “Callaloo,” Canady writes about the stories she remembers her mother sharing with her, and tells the story through young Winston who ate too much callaloo,, a Caribbean spinach dish that originated in West Africa.
Winston’s grandmother sends him on an errand to get the ingredients to make more callaloo and Winston’s full belly sets off his imagination and transports him to Tobago where he encounters several mythical characters known in the culture of Trinidad and Tobago. Something magical is in that callaloo! “Callaloo” is suitable for very small children and is expressively illustrated.
“Celina the Ballerina” is another delightful book that helps to deliver the message that everyone has purpose.
This is the first children’s book for L.A. writer Robin Deneen Smith, who shares Celina’s dream to get out of her musical box to learn a new dance and new song. After all, dreams were never meant to stay inside a box.
Celina the Ballerina dreams of dancing new dances and singing new songs. Since Celina is in a musical box, she is stuck twirling around and around in circles while playing the same prerecorded song. Life becomes more difficult for her when the mighty King Megethos removes her from the musical box. The other musical boxes cannot understand life outside a musical box, and then they tease poor Celina since she looks so odd without hers.
Reficul, the evil crow, tries to trick Celina into joining his choir of crows so she can dance and sing for him. Will Celina’s dream of dancing a new dance and singing a new song ever become a reality?
“Celina The Ballerina” is also beautifully illustrated.