Monday, July 24, 2023

Today's read... Always Sisters by Saira Mir

Today's read hits a more serious tone but promises to be beautifully crafted. I do find the cover quite lovely and am curious how this one swings into the topic. So, let's take a peek!

A Story of Loss and Love
by Saira Mir 
Illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8


This much-needed picture book about navigating the difficult experience of pregnancy loss meets young readers at their level to offer a tender look at grieving someone who never entered the world.

Raya can’t wait for her baby sister to arrive. She’s already got a name—Nura—and Raya is certain they’ll be best friends. She’s got all kinds of plans for things they’ll do together like run through the sprinklers, play dress-up, and give piggyback rides.

But one day, Mama returns from the doctor with tears in her eyes. Nura won’t be coming home after all. Raya feels confused and sad, like all the love she has for Nura is trapped inside her. With the help of family, friends, and her school counselor, though, Raya finds a way to grieve this loss and to share the love she’ll always feel for her sister.

GOODREADS    /     AMAZON    /    B&N


Each page and moment carries love and warmth with lovely illustrations to fit the mood.

A young girl is very excited to learn that she's going to have a younger sister. Sure, she has an older brother, but that's definitely not the same. She dreams of all the wonderful things her sister and her will do in the future, each moment more special than the last. But then, news arrives that something went wrong and her sister isn't going to come after all.

The book starts out with amazing positivity. It's cute to see all the things the girl hopes to do with her sister one day, and since the illustrations build the sister right into these scenes, it's almost as if she's really there. This is a clever way to make emotions and hopes come across and let the disappointment and feelings of loss come across clearly when things don't turn out as planned. It's potent, yet gentle and brings across the point in a meaningful way. Even the moments of dealing with the disappoint and acceptance afterwards are done with care and leave on a hopeful note.

The illustrations are pretty and have a dreamy flair. The colors remain bright and cheery, not allowing this one to sink into depression. Instead, the scenes offer support and encouragement the entire way through.

While this isn't a book which will resonate with every reader, those who do need the extra support will find this to be a wonderful read.

And here they are...

Saira Mir is a physician and author of the award-winning picture book Muslim Girls Rise, which she wrote for her daughter and other children to have Muslim feminist role models. As an OB-GYN, she has cared for many families through pregnancy loss, but could not find the book she needed to help support her daughter through grief over her own family’s loss, which inspired her to write Always Sisters. She lives in the DC area with her kids and is always on the hunt for the next best playground and bubble tea.

Shahrzad Maydani is an illustrator and storyteller based in Maui, Hawaii, where she lives with her family. She was raised in Africa by an Iranian mother and an English father, and she spent her childhood collecting and telling stories. Shahrzad is the illustrator of the picture books Poetree by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds, Always Sisters by Saira Mir, and Sourgrass by Hope Lim.

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