cover image The Gifts of Kwanzaa

The Gifts of Kwanzaa

Synthia Saint James, Synthia St James. Albert Whitman & Company, $14.95 (1pp) ISBN 978-0-8075-2907-2

Following a brief history of the seven-day holiday (December 26-January 1), a child narrator explains the seven symbols and the seven principles of Kwanzaa, defining each with its African name (and supplying a a phonetic pronunciation). Despite some choppiness, the simple descriptions of the rituals performed each day make this a lucid introduction to the significance of Kwanzaa. Echoing the candor of the text are Saint James's boldly hued, minimalist acrylic-on-canvas paintings. Although this is the first book she has written, Saint James will be familiar to many for her art, which has appeared in picture books, on greeting cards and on book jackets. Ages 3-7. (Sept.)