Babajoon’s Treasure (Farnaz Esnaashari)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Babajoon’s Treasure, written by Farnaz Esnaashari and illustrated by Nabi H. Ali, a sweet family tale about making cultural connections across generations.

Every summer, Miriam travels to spend a week with her Babajoon and Mamanjoon – her grandfather and grandmother – and it always feels like a magical adventure. One day, after a picnic, Miriam spies a strange coin fall from her Babajoon’s pocket. Then, as they enjoy popsicles, she hears him exchanging a melody with a wild parrot. Miriam begins to wonder: could Babajoon be a pirate? After observing him speaking to a friend in an unfamiliar language, she’s almost positive… yet the explanation for Babajoon’s talents is one much closer to home.

Very cute. While some of the “mystery” may strike adults as far-fetched (would a second-generation Iranian-American really never have heard Farsi spoken before?), for the most part, this is a lovely story about generations connecting through shared culture. The text suggests that Miriam is a fairly “Americanized” kid of Iranian descent, yet in the end, both she and Babajoon find a bond beyond even their shared heritage; as Babajoon suggests, he can teach Miriam more about her Iranian roots, while she can teach him more about her younger and more American perspective (“There’s always time to learn”). It’s a nice way of incorporating tradition with an acknowledgment that the descendants of immigrants tend to straddle both cultures, and their identity usually involves a blend of both. Ali’s illustrations are richly-colored and utilize incredibly charming character design that exudes warmth, especially between the central characters. The length is great for a storytime, and JJ and I both liked it a lot. A delightful story with a lot of heart, and it’s Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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