King for a Day: Children’s Book Review

photo (18)

Amazon Summary:

Basant is here, with feasts and parties to celebrate the arrival of spring. But what Malik is looking forward to most is doing battle from his rooftop with Falcon, the special kite he has built for speed. Today is Malik’s chance to be the best kite fighter, the king of Basant. In two fierce battles, Malik takes down the kites flown by the bully next door. Then Malik moves on, guiding Falcon into leaps, swirls, and dives, slashing strings and plucking kites from the sky. By the end of the day, Malik has a big pile of captured kites. He is the king! But then the bully reappears, trying to take a kite from a girl in the alley below. With a sudden act of kingly generosity, Malik finds the perfect way to help the girl. This lively, contemporary story introduces readers to a centuries-old festival and the traditional sport of kite fighting, and to a spirited, determined young boy who masters the sport while finding his own way to face and overcome life’s challenges.

  • Age Range: 6 – 10 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600606598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600606595

My thoughts: Rukhsana Khan, an award winning author, has written some beautiful books and each story she writes has a distinct voice and unique characters. This story is no different! I requested this review copy from Lee&Low, which is known for publishing some beautiful multicultural books. The illustrations/artwork in this story are phenomenal and I really could see bits of Pakistan in this book, from the dusty alley to the the thatched roofs, to the colorful kites, and billowy shalvar kameezes.

I enjoyed the plot of this story and how Malik is known that day for his great kite-flying skills, but I really enjoyed his sudden act of kindness at the end of the story.

I could relate to this story since I’ve always loved flying kites as a child. My father would take us right outside our house where stood a parking lot and there’s nothing like seeing a regular sized kite become a tiny dancing diamond high, high in the sky. My father also enjoys making kites like Malik in this story.

A unique part of this story that I didn’t stumble upon till the middle is that Malik is in a wheel chair. The story doesn’t mention it – simply portrays it in illustrations. It’s easy to miss, but I believe it makes the story even more powerful.

Z’s thoughts:

She loved the kites and pointing at each one. In this story, they are a work of art! We’ve already read this story a few times!

Favorite Quote:

Suddenly I hear yelling from below. The bully pushes a young girl to the ground. Then he grabs her kite and runs into his house. The girl gets to her feet. Sobbing, she heads down the alley trailing the kite string behind her. Something makes me pick up Goliath and drop it over the side of the roof. It floats, slicing the air side to side, to land close beside her.

The quote above is just a small sample of Rukshana Khan’s crisp writing. Each word is so precise and kid-friendly, and really spins a beautiful tale.


Above 2 images obtained from here.

Ilustrations pasted from illustrater Kromer’s site here, and she talks about her art process there as well! And the illustrator being interviewed by the author here – something I found really interesting!

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