cover image Bilal Cooks Daal

Bilal Cooks Daal

Aisha Saeed, illus. by Anoosha Syed. Salaam Reads, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-5344-1810-3

Saeed, a founder of We Need Diverse Books, offers a relatable story about trying new foods and introducing friends to family traditions. Bilal loves daal and couldn’t be happier to share it with his two friends, Elias and Morgan. The kids—who, in Syed’s friendly digital art, show just what they are feeling in their facial expressions—help out with the spices: “Bilal breathes in the scent of turmeric, chili, cumin. Morgan sprinkles salt.” But when Morgan and Elias express uncertainty (“ ‘It smells funny,’ whispers Elias”), Bilal worries, thinking that maybe “his friends won’t like daal at all.” After an afternoon of fun, and with more friends in tow, it’s time to eat. Readers worried about how their family meals will be received can take heart: Bilal’s friends eagerly try and enjoy the meal. Ages 4–8. (June)