Review of Saffron Ice Cream

Saffron Ice Cream
by Rashin Kheiriyeh; illus. by the author
Preschool, Primary    Levine/Scholastic    40 pp.
5/18    978-1-338-15052-0    $17.99

Kheiriyeh delivers an entertaining, heartfelt story based on her own childhood memories of family outings to the beach. Young narrator Rashin compares the beach in her birthplace of Iran to the beach in her new home of Brooklyn, providing a glimpse of some of the Islamic “beach rules” in places in Iran. “Big, long curtains divided the sea into two sections — one side for men to swim in and the other side for women.” Young Rashin learned that breaking those rules (accidentally or not) can create chaos but can be funny and exciting, too. Kheiriyeh’s sensory text evokes the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes experienced along the journey from each home to the beach. Driving for five hours to the Caspian Sea or taking the Q train to Coney Island; listening to Persian music on the car radio or outdoor music in the city; passing through the forest or by “redbrick apartment buildings” — each is an adventure. For Rashin, the absence of two highlights of her beach fun in Iran — her best friend and saffron ice cream — is a stumbling block, but a new friend and a chocolate-crunch cone at Coney Island help. The textured oil and acrylic illustrations are bright and colorful, capturing the shades of nature and the vibrant and earthy colors of the city. The images of the Arabic/Farsi/English signs in Iran are a perfect context-setting touch.

From the July/August 2018 issue of The Horn Book Magazine: Special Issue: ALA Awards.
Aishah Abdul Musawwir
Aishah Abdul-Musawwir is an elementary school librarian for Cambridge Public Schools. She holds a masters of education degree with a focus on school library media services from Cambridge College.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.

Katie Clausen

I'm wondering about the images of women wearing the Hijab in this book. I'm worried that the depiction of them (looking stern, frightening and legalistic) paints the wrong picture for readers, who are already exposed to so much Islamophobia. I highly respect the author/illustrator, especially because this is an #ownvoices book, but I'm not sure if I can recommend this book to families if it instills more fear in our already divided society. How can we look to this book for it's beauty- the story of two different cultures experiencing something as simple and lovely as a beach day (similar to Aaron Meshon's Take Me Out to the Yakyu) without implying or suggesting that Muslim culture is something to fear?

Posted : Aug 13, 2018 03:53


Community matters. Stay up to date on breaking news, trends, reviews, and more.

Get access to reviews of books, ebooks, and more


We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing