Sami's Special Gift
M. O. Yuksel, author
M. O. Yuksel is the award-winning author of In My Mosque; One Wish: Fatima al-Fihri and the World's Oldest University; and Ramadan Kareem. She was born in Türkiye, raised in New York City, and now lives in New Jersey. She loves celebrating Eid al-Adha and going to the carnival with her family.
Read more about this author.
Hüseyin Sönmezay, illustrator
Hüseyin Sönmezay is a freelance illustrator. He was born in Bulgaria and moved to Türkiye when he was young. He attended vocational school with a concentration in graphic design. He has worked with local and international agencies and publishers and has illustrated more than forty picture books as well as various magazine illustrations. He currently lives in Izmir with his wife and two daughters, and this is his first book in the United States.
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A grieving child finds a reason to celebrate on Eid al-Adha.
It’s Eid al-Adha, Sami’s favorite holiday. Every year Sami’s family goes to a carnival, but he’s having trouble getting into the spirit of things this year, because his grandfather recently passed away. Just as his family is getting ready to leave for the Eid prayer at the mosque, Sami’s parents reveal a surprise gift from his grandmother in Türkiye: his grandpa’s favorite Eid necktie! After the prayer, it’s time to head to the carnival, but first the family stops by a homeless shelter where they volunteer. A young refugee sees Sami’s tie and is wistfully reminded of his favorite toy. Sami reflects on his own blessings and decides that giving will bring as much joy as receiving. Focusing on a holiday that’s less widely written about than Ramadan, Yuskel makes an important contribution, penning a story that’s both a mirror for young Muslims and a window for those unfamiliar with Muslim traditions. The message of giving generously and showing gratitude shines through. Sönmezay’s illustrations are soft and spare in some places and richly detailed in others, with the expressiveness of the characters sweetly captured on each page. Sami and his family are Turkish; his community is a diverse one, and the little boy Sami helps is light-skinned. An author’s note thoughtfully provides additional context about Eid al-Adha and homeless shelters.
Caring and sharing drive this charming tale. (glossary)
Page count: 32
91/2 x 91/2
Publication date: April 16, 2024