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A Kirkus Reviews Best Picture Book of 2019
An Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature Honor Book 2019
Six-year-old Bilal introduces his friends to his favorite dish—daal!—in this charming picture book that showcases the value of patience, teamwork, community, and sharing.
Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does?
This debut picture book by Aisha Saeed, with charming illustrations by Anoosha Syed, uses food as a means of bringing a community together to share in each other’s family traditions.
About the Author
Aisha Saeed is the author of Written in the Stars, which was listed as a Best Book of 2015 by Bank Street Books, a 2016 YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, and named one of the Top Ten Books All Young Georgians Should Read in 2016. She is also the author of the middle grade novel Amal Unbound, which has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews and is a Global Read Aloud for 2018. Her other picture books include Bilal Cooks Daal and The Together Tree. Aisha is a founding member of the nonprofit We Need Diverse Books. She has been featured on MTV, HuffPost, NBC, and the BBC, and her writings have appeared in publications including the journal ALAN and the Orlando Sentinel.
Anoosha Syed is a Pakistani-Canadian illustrator and character designer for animation, based in Texas. She graduated with a BFA in illustration at Ceruleum: Ecole d’arts Visuels in Lausanne, Switzerland. Bilal Cooks Daal is her first picture book.
"A quietly radical, eminently delightful book."
— Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Refreshingly innovative...a lovely picture-book debut."
"The author uses food as a way to create common ground and bridge cultures. The illustrations are charming and the facial expressions of the children are endearing. The recipe itself, diversity of the characters, and the father taking on the role as a cook and enlisting his son to help prepare dinner are interwoven themes that make this book perfect for reading discussions among preschoolers. The book also shows that the deepest flavors come with ingredients that simmer gently. This teaches patience to youngsters. The story can prompt discussions about patience, friendship, expanding your palate, measurements, and spices. A fun introduction to cross cultural sharing."
— School Library Journal, Online