Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa
written by Donna L. Washington; illustrated by Shane Evans
(Harper Collins Children) 2010
Source: Mebane Public Library
Kwanzaa is not going so well for Li'l Rabbit. Granna Rabbit is in bed sick. Li'l Rabbit's favorite part of Kwanzaa is the feast called Karamu, but since Momma has to take care of Granna there won't be a feast. Momma sends Li'l Rabbit outside and he works hard to think of what he can do for his Granna. Along the way, Li'l Rabbit encounters several forest creatures that have been helped in the past by Granna Rabbit. Each animal recalls what she has done for them and they wonder what they can do for her. By the end of the day, Li'l Rabbit hops home sad that he hasn't been able to think of anything. When he opens the door to his house, Li'l Rabbit finds that perhaps he was wrong about not being able to do anything for Granna.
In kindergarten, we study different holidays leading up to our winter break. Li'l Rabbit's Kwanzaa is a great read aloud for teaching young students about the Kwanzaa tradition. In addition to the engaging story and appealing illustrations, there is back matter that explains the purpose of each of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. I like the overall theme of a community coming together (harambee) to help one another. My students also made several unprompted predictions while reading this book so it works well to work on making predictions as well.