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Leila in Saffron

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A colorful journey of self-discovery and identity, this sweet, vibrant picture book follows young Leila as she visits her grandmother’s house for their weekly family dinner, and finds parts of herself and her heritage in the family, friends, and art around her.


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A colorful journey of self-discovery and identity, this sweet, vibrant picture book follows young Leila as she visits her grandmother’s house for their weekly family dinner, and finds parts of herself and her heritage in the family, friends, and art around her.

30 review for Leila in Saffron

  1. 4 out of 5

    La Coccinelle

    This picture book has lovely, vibrant illustrations... but I found it just a little bit light on story. This is more of a slice-of-life than anything with an actual plot. We meet Leila, a little girl with wobbly self-esteem. She talks of her family and her resemblance to her aunt, and her desire to visit Pakistan one day. She helps her grandmother make dinner, enlisting the help of neighbour Miguel to procure the missing cilantro. Then she tries on one of her grandmother's scarves, and when she l This picture book has lovely, vibrant illustrations... but I found it just a little bit light on story. This is more of a slice-of-life than anything with an actual plot. We meet Leila, a little girl with wobbly self-esteem. She talks of her family and her resemblance to her aunt, and her desire to visit Pakistan one day. She helps her grandmother make dinner, enlisting the help of neighbour Miguel to procure the missing cilantro. Then she tries on one of her grandmother's scarves, and when she looks in the mirror, she likes what she sees. That's really all there is to the story, and... well, I was kind of hoping for more. More conflict (even internal conflict) would've engaged me more, I think. The illustrations are quite nice, full of bright colours (green like cucumbers, orange like lentils, pink like pomegranates). And there's a glossary at the back to help kids understand the few unfamiliar words that are sprinkled throughout the text. (Pronunciation is, thankfully, included.) I think this might have more appeal to kids of Pakistani descent, as they'll be able to relate to Leila and her family. Without more of a story, though, there's little to keep kids unfamiliar with this culture really engaged. It's too bad... because the illustrations really shine!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    A young girl who isn't sure she likes what she sees when she looks in the mirror, Leila gets some much-needed affirmation during her weekly visit at her Naani's house, as her extended family all get together for food and music. Wearing a saffron scarf of Naani's, she suddenly sees her own beauty, and through the love and praise of her family, who compliment her curries, realizes that she has talent... A sweet and heartwarming story of family love and self-worth from author Rukhsanna Guidroz is pa A young girl who isn't sure she likes what she sees when she looks in the mirror, Leila gets some much-needed affirmation during her weekly visit at her Naani's house, as her extended family all get together for food and music. Wearing a saffron scarf of Naani's, she suddenly sees her own beauty, and through the love and praise of her family, who compliment her curries, realizes that she has talent... A sweet and heartwarming story of family love and self-worth from author Rukhsanna Guidroz is paired with gorgeous artwork from illustrator Dinara Mirtalipova in Leila in Saffron. This is the second title I have read from Simon & Schuster's new "Salaam Reads" imprint, intended to highlight and represent the lives of America's Muslim children, and it is definitely an inducement to read more. I don't know that the story here is all that memorable, although it is certainly engaging, but the artwork is so lovely - colorful, vibrant, beautifully-designed - that I added an extra star to my rating. I would certainly seek out more work from Mirtalipova! Recommended to anyone who appreciates beautiful picture-book art, as well as to those seeking children's stories with a Pakistani-American cultural background and/or a message of self worth and affirmation.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dana Al-Basha دانة الباشا

    This is such a cute and colorful book about Leila who goes to her grandma's house every Friday with all her family like most of the Muslim nation, including my own. The book deals with Leila not being comfortable in her own skin, but when she's with her nana, she feels happy and pretty. I love the comparison between colors and food like the title above because that's Leila's favorite color. This is such a cute and colorful book about Leila who goes to her grandma's house every Friday with all her family like most of the Muslim nation, including my own. The book deals with Leila not being comfortable in her own skin, but when she's with her nana, she feels happy and pretty. I love the comparison between colors and food like the title above because that's Leila's favorite color.

  4. 5 out of 5

    KC

    With vibrant colors, alluring illustrations and a multi-generational cast, this is a simple tale of acceptance.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Medeia Sharif

    This is a lovely story about a girl who seems unsure of herself and her looks. When her grandmother opens a world of colorful scarves to her and Leila tries on one that gives her appearance a pop, Leila loves what she sees. I adored the threads of food, culture, and family woven throughout the story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Molly

    Leila isn't sure she likes what she sees when she looks in the mirror but with some help from her grandmother at their weekly family dinner she is able to appreciate herself. This is a sweet and beautifully illustrated story about self love. Leila isn't sure she likes what she sees when she looks in the mirror but with some help from her grandmother at their weekly family dinner she is able to appreciate herself. This is a sweet and beautifully illustrated story about self love.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    Sometimes it takes a wise grandma to make a kid see just who she is. Every Friday night, Leila goes to her Naani's house for a family dinner with her mom and dad. One night, Naani tells her that the saffron color buttons on her dress really compliment Leila's dark eyes. The compliment makes her feel very happy. So does spending Friday night with her aunts, uncles, and cousins, looking at Naani's Pakistani ornaments, all the books written in Arabic, and helping her grandmother make the chicken cu Sometimes it takes a wise grandma to make a kid see just who she is. Every Friday night, Leila goes to her Naani's house for a family dinner with her mom and dad. One night, Naani tells her that the saffron color buttons on her dress really compliment Leila's dark eyes. The compliment makes her feel very happy. So does spending Friday night with her aunts, uncles, and cousins, looking at Naani's Pakistani ornaments, all the books written in Arabic, and helping her grandmother make the chicken curry for their dinner. One night, just before Leila and her parents leave, Naani takes her upstairs to show her some of her beautiful scarves. Leila loves her grandmother's scarves and asks if she can try one on. The sparkle and shine of the saffron color scarf she picks is perfect for Leila and makes her feel exactly like who she is - a beautiful Pakistani girl proud of her heritage. And this beautiful warm mixed-media illustrated book done in a palette of bold oranges and greens with touches of other colors nicely conveys the Pakistani heritage that Leila loves so much.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    When Leila goes to visit her grandmother, Leila looks in the mirror and isn’t sure she likes what she sees. With a word like “saffron” in the title, this picture book is as colorful as one would expect. The illustrations are breath-taking. The glimpse at Pakistani culture (for a non-Pakistani) was intriguing – and made my mouth water. The dynamic and hopefulness of a story that would encourage self-confidence and self-acceptance … was not explored as well as I hoped. Maybe a saffron scarf could i When Leila goes to visit her grandmother, Leila looks in the mirror and isn’t sure she likes what she sees. With a word like “saffron” in the title, this picture book is as colorful as one would expect. The illustrations are breath-taking. The glimpse at Pakistani culture (for a non-Pakistani) was intriguing – and made my mouth water. The dynamic and hopefulness of a story that would encourage self-confidence and self-acceptance … was not explored as well as I hoped. Maybe a saffron scarf could instill confidence in a young child but I would rather have had her look in the mirror and see bits of her strong grandma in herself including the scarf her grandmother gave her. Almost a five-star but not quite.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Wow, so beautiful! I love the quite, introspectiveness of this book as young Leila encounters things, people, and moments around her family and their house that make up her heritage and who she is. There is focus on the emotional, physical, and intellectual parts of Leila that showcase her as an individual, and I think it's an excellent thing for young readers to see. Plus, the art is absolutely luscious and filled with lovely patterns and colors. Wow, so beautiful! I love the quite, introspectiveness of this book as young Leila encounters things, people, and moments around her family and their house that make up her heritage and who she is. There is focus on the emotional, physical, and intellectual parts of Leila that showcase her as an individual, and I think it's an excellent thing for young readers to see. Plus, the art is absolutely luscious and filled with lovely patterns and colors.

  10. 4 out of 5

    carrietracy

    Leila is unsure she likes what she sees in the mirror. But when she spends time with her family, particularly her beloved Naani, she learns to see the beauty in herself. This is a quiet book about a family visit, highlighted by absolutely stunning illustrations. This would be great for a classroom read especially when kids are starting to write about their own families and their own lives.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Air

    This was a beautiful story about learning to love yourself the way you are. Sometimes it isn't easy to like yourself, but thankfully that is one of the things that family is there for! When a little girl is trying to find things about herself that she likes, it takes her grandmother's special touch to make her feel truly wonderful. This was a beautiful story about learning to love yourself the way you are. Sometimes it isn't easy to like yourself, but thankfully that is one of the things that family is there for! When a little girl is trying to find things about herself that she likes, it takes her grandmother's special touch to make her feel truly wonderful.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Ann Williams

    Love, love, love! Can NOT WAIT to share Leila with students.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Angelina

    The illustrations are beautiful -vibrant and colorful, but there isn’t much of a story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ame

    This book is GORGEOUS. The colors of the scarves and Naani's home. You can just feel the warmth and coziness of Leila's family gathering together. This book is GORGEOUS. The colors of the scarves and Naani's home. You can just feel the warmth and coziness of Leila's family gathering together.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Zoey

    A sweet story, with gorgeous illustrations

  16. 4 out of 5

    Henessy Tolliver

    This was a great book because I was able to experience Leila life and some of the great things that made her who she truly is. The colorful visuals in this book are very eye catching for readers. Also, Leila was part of a different culture than me so it kept me interested in reading more to get to know her.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pam

    Leila struggles with what she sees in herself. She starts to see pieces she loves in her family members in her own looks and actions. Her grandmother lets her wear a saffron scarf and she discovers how lovely she is by being herself.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michele Knott

    Young Leila is trying to figure out who she is when a weekly trip to her grandmother's house helps her get perspective and understanding. Young Leila is trying to figure out who she is when a weekly trip to her grandmother's house helps her get perspective and understanding.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mary Lee

    At the weekly family dinner, Leila looks around her grandmother's home and at her family's faces to try to figure out who she is. (And the reader gets to take a peek around a Pakistani home!) Glossary in the back. At the weekly family dinner, Leila looks around her grandmother's home and at her family's faces to try to figure out who she is. (And the reader gets to take a peek around a Pakistani home!) Glossary in the back.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kathleen

    A sweet, pretty little picture book about a girl named Leila who isn't sure she likes herself-- not, I want to stress, because she's Pakistani-American and Muslim, but because she doesn't think she lives up to her family. She visits her grandmother for the weekly family dinner, and after her grandmother compliments her saffron dress, she decides she's going to look out for other things she likes. The book shows us the food, ornaments, clothing, and color of Leila's family, plus a brief cameo by A sweet, pretty little picture book about a girl named Leila who isn't sure she likes herself-- not, I want to stress, because she's Pakistani-American and Muslim, but because she doesn't think she lives up to her family. She visits her grandmother for the weekly family dinner, and after her grandmother compliments her saffron dress, she decides she's going to look out for other things she likes. The book shows us the food, ornaments, clothing, and color of Leila's family, plus a brief cameo by her neighbor Miguel (about whom I want a book as well). The art is really pretty too, bright and warm and lovely. It's a quiet and sweet story, and I really loved reading it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Josie Stewart

    Simple story but powerful for identity and family and traditions.

  22. 4 out of 5

    talia

    A gorgeous celebration of culture, family, food, self-love, and COLOR!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Megan

    A super beautiful and cute story of learning to love who you are.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tasha

    Leila isn’t sure she likes what she sees when she looks in the mirror, but her grandmother tells her how lovely the color saffron looks with her dark eyes. It makes Leila feel better, but she still sees her skinny arms and knobby knees in the mirror. As she joins her extended family for dinner, she realizes that she smiles the same as her aunt. Leila helps her grandmother make the curry. She heads out to the neighbor’s garden to ask for some cilantro. Everyone congratulates Leila on a wonderful Leila isn’t sure she likes what she sees when she looks in the mirror, but her grandmother tells her how lovely the color saffron looks with her dark eyes. It makes Leila feel better, but she still sees her skinny arms and knobby knees in the mirror. As she joins her extended family for dinner, she realizes that she smiles the same as her aunt. Leila helps her grandmother make the curry. She heads out to the neighbor’s garden to ask for some cilantro. Everyone congratulates Leila on a wonderful dinner. Before Leila leaves that evening, her grandmother shows her a trunk of silk scarves. They are all the colors of the foods they just worked with, and Leila discovers a saffron one that makes her see herself clearly in the mirror. Guidroz has created a book centered on a warm and loving Pakistani family. Leila’s concerns with her appearance are addressed by the family in a more holistic way, talking about beauty but also focusing on her skills and her talents. They never make her feel less for having concerns, instead surrounding her with options and choices to really feel more fully herself. The illustrations are filled with oranges, yellows, reds and deep greens. They also have lots of patterns, filling the page with different textiles. Those colors pop against the simple white backgrounds. Rich and warm, this book is just like a good curry. Appropriate for ages 3-5.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Micheline

    I found this title in Colours of Us website, which is dedicated to multicultural books for children and youth. This book drew my attention mostly because of the yellow, or Saffron color. I decided to check it and was pleasantly surprised by its simplicity and yet richness of the Pakistani culture. There isn't a story per se, with a problem and a solution. It just shows a few moments of a Pakistani girl (Leila) and her family when they gather on Sunday. The illustration is beautiful and bright an I found this title in Colours of Us website, which is dedicated to multicultural books for children and youth. This book drew my attention mostly because of the yellow, or Saffron color. I decided to check it and was pleasantly surprised by its simplicity and yet richness of the Pakistani culture. There isn't a story per se, with a problem and a solution. It just shows a few moments of a Pakistani girl (Leila) and her family when they gather on Sunday. The illustration is beautiful and bright and shows different habits, such as eating together around a low table but sitting on the floor, on mats and pillows. Though there are many new and different things (food, color, smell), the book also shows we are all the same. A loving family is a loving family no matter where. Traditions exist in every culture. It is indicated for preschool to 2nd grade. It would be great as an example of a narrative in writing, it is a great example of a "window" book for those classrooms that don't have diversity, it is a great "mirror" book for children with a Pakistani background. I listened to this book in a read-aloud video. It was published in 2019 and it hasn't received any awards, at least so far. Booklist also has a review of this title.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Bange

    A perfect doorway for others to enter and experience what it is like to be Pakistani at a family dinner. Leila is a young Pakistani girl who is not very comfortable and confident with the girl she sees in the mirror. Every Friday night, her family gathers at her grandmother's home to enjoy family and eat dinner together. From the time she arrives at her grandmother's, she looks at herself and tries to find things she likes about herself. By the end of the evening, her grandmother has given her a A perfect doorway for others to enter and experience what it is like to be Pakistani at a family dinner. Leila is a young Pakistani girl who is not very comfortable and confident with the girl she sees in the mirror. Every Friday night, her family gathers at her grandmother's home to enjoy family and eat dinner together. From the time she arrives at her grandmother's, she looks at herself and tries to find things she likes about herself. By the end of the evening, her grandmother has given her a saffron scarf and she has found many things that she likes about herself. Guidroz has told this story from Leila's point of view. Tenderly told, it is never didactic and joyful. Leila's voice is authentic. Gouache illustrations by Dinara Mirtalipova are filled with colors and patterns found in the Pakistani culture. The very strong mixture of patterns and colors used matches the culture. Highly recommended for PreSchool-grade 3.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    Leila is going over to her Naani's house and she confesses to the reader that she isn't sure how she feels about herself when she looks in the mirror. She's decided to figure out during her time at Naani's what she likes about herself. With the help of her family, she discovers she has many attributes she can like about herself and her family. A vibrant intro to Pakistani culture and self-acceptance. It's a pretty universal thing to wonder what we're good at or if there's anything to like about o Leila is going over to her Naani's house and she confesses to the reader that she isn't sure how she feels about herself when she looks in the mirror. She's decided to figure out during her time at Naani's what she likes about herself. With the help of her family, she discovers she has many attributes she can like about herself and her family. A vibrant intro to Pakistani culture and self-acceptance. It's a pretty universal thing to wonder what we're good at or if there's anything to like about ourselves, and it is important to have family speak positively into that. Leila does a great job of introducing kids to Pakistani food, language, dress, and customs along her path of self discovery. A fantastic multicultural read and great opener to a discussion about self-acceptance.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Aolund

    Leila goes to have dinner with some family friends. She doesn't always like herself or the way she looks, but is determined to look for things she DOES like about herself, and ultimately achieves a higher degree of self acceptance. While this story felt under-developed-- moving too quickly and not drawing out the theme of self-acceptance for most younger readers to necessarily pick up on it--it's completely gorgeous, with colorful illustrations by Dinara Mirtalipova, and has a great message that Leila goes to have dinner with some family friends. She doesn't always like herself or the way she looks, but is determined to look for things she DOES like about herself, and ultimately achieves a higher degree of self acceptance. While this story felt under-developed-- moving too quickly and not drawing out the theme of self-acceptance for most younger readers to necessarily pick up on it--it's completely gorgeous, with colorful illustrations by Dinara Mirtalipova, and has a great message that can be expanded upon by the adult reader. Themes: Social Emotional/Self-Love; Getting Dressed

  29. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    “Being with my whole family makes me feel snug and happy inside.” When a little girl visits with her whole family, she looks for the beauty within herself. “Sometimes I’m not sure if I like being me.” But her naani makes her feel better with kind words about her saffron beads that bring out the color in her eyes. Leila also sees that she smiles like her aunt and it makes her feel special ... as special as the curries that she makes for her family. A sweet story about family and accepting one’s sel “Being with my whole family makes me feel snug and happy inside.” When a little girl visits with her whole family, she looks for the beauty within herself. “Sometimes I’m not sure if I like being me.” But her naani makes her feel better with kind words about her saffron beads that bring out the color in her eyes. Leila also sees that she smiles like her aunt and it makes her feel special ... as special as the curries that she makes for her family. A sweet story about family and accepting one’s self.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nicole Lowe

    Copyright Year: 2019 Theme(s): self, identity, family, culture Leila feels awkward in her body and looks to her family to pick the things that she likes about her family that she sees in herself. This would be a good book for the awkward pre-puberty transitions that children tend to go through in the middle elementary grades. This is less a book choice to teach about the topic and more to really solidify and provide a book as a mirror to children who come from families that are not as represented Copyright Year: 2019 Theme(s): self, identity, family, culture Leila feels awkward in her body and looks to her family to pick the things that she likes about her family that she sees in herself. This would be a good book for the awkward pre-puberty transitions that children tend to go through in the middle elementary grades. This is less a book choice to teach about the topic and more to really solidify and provide a book as a mirror to children who come from families that are not as represented in traditional classroom libraries.

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