550,000 Canadian Grade 1 students to receive Nadia L. Hohn's picture book Malaika's Costume

The TD Grade One Book Giveaway delivers picture books to every Grade 1 student in Canada.

The TD Grade One Book Giveaway delivers picture books to every Grade 1 student in Canada

Nadia L. Hohn is a writer based in Toronto. (Elizabeth Dungan, Groundwood Books)

Malaika's Costume, written by Nadia L. Hohn and illustrated by Irene Luxbacher, is the 2021 title for the TD Grade One Book Giveaway.

The giveaway is an initiative organized by the Canadian Children's Book Centre (CCBC) that delivers Canadian children's picture books to every Grade 1 student in Canada. 

For some of the children, the book they receive may be the first one they ever own. The books will be distributed throughout classrooms in fall 2021.

Malaika's Costume is a picture book about family, community and the sunny celebration of Carnival. Malaika's mother moved to Canada to better provide for Malaika and her grandmother. But it's time for the Carnival parade and Malaika is hoping that her mother will send money back home for a costume. A disappointed Malaika is determined to wear a vibrant costume and dance in the sun — so she sets out to make it happen.

Hohn is a writer, musician and educator based in Toronto. Her other picture books include Malaika's Winter CarnivalA Likkle Miss Lou and the biographical Harriet Tubman: Freedom Fighter

She was named one of six Black Canadian writers to watch in 2018, and won the Helen Isobel Sissons Canadian Children's Story Award in 2016. Her children's fiction blends standard English and Caribbean patois, telling Black stories from an often underrepresented point of view. 

"I am thrilled and honoured that my picture book, Malaika's Costume, has been selected for the 2021 TD Grade One Book Giveaway," Hohn said in a press statement. "As a former Grade 1 teacher, I know how important it is for children to have their own copy of a physical book that they can keep for themselves and cherish as they become emergent readers."

Hohn is looking forward to sharing Malaika's story with readers across the country.

"I am also excited that many children and families will look at Malaika, her family, and community and see themselves in the illustrations and language, while others will learn more about the language, culture, and diaspora of Caribbean people. Thank you so much for choosing Malaika's Costume."

Luxbacher is an award-winning Toronto artist and author. 

French immersion students will receive the French translation of the title, Le costume de Malaika. The book was translated by Isabelle Allard.

More than 11 million books have been given to Grade 1 students across the country since the program's inception in 2000.

Past titles from the program include My Heart Fills With Happiness/sâkaskinêw nitêh miywêyihtamowin ohci by Monique Gray Smith and illustrated by Julie Flett, Small Saul by Ashley Spires, Alligator Stew written by Dennis Lee and illustrated by Rogé and Moira's Birthday by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko.

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