National Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Kid Lit Review of “Big Red Lollipop” by Rukhsana Khan

This book about sibling rivalry just happens to feature protagonists from a different culture. Presumably, the characters are Pakistani like the author, who was born in Lahore but immigrated to Canada at age three.


In the story, Rubina is invited to her first birthday party ever, and her little sister Sana pitches a fit until their mother, Ami, says Sana must go also or Rubina can’t go. Rubina takes Sana, who predictably embarrasses Rubina and eats all of the treats they received as party favors.


It takes a long time before Rubina gets any more party invitations!


Then one day, Sana comes home with her own invitation. By this time, a new little sister, Maryam, is old enough to cause the same sort of trouble with Sana that Sana once caused for Rubina.


Rubina thinks about it:

“I could just watch her have to take Maryam. I could just let her make a fool of herself at that party. I could just let her not be invited to any more parties, but something makes me tap Ami on the shoulder.”

She makes a decision, and asks Ami not to make Sana take Maryam, and in gratitude, Sana brings back her goodies from the party and gives them to Rubina.

Evaluation: This is a good story with an important lesson about the sweetness of revenge versus the greater benefits of forgiveness and charity. In addition, there is the “meta message” for people of the majority culture that just because some kids may dress different and/or have different-sounding names doesn’t mean they don’t have a lot in common with you.


The artwork by the award-winning Sophie Blackall, known for her Chinese ink and watercolor images, is adorable – full of whimsy, warmth, and expressiveness. You can buy her work on her Etsy site, here. Many of her prints are on my wish list! [My favorites: “We Shared A Bear Suit” and “I Can’t Believe I Found You.”]

Rating: 3.5/5

Published by Viking, an imprint of the Penguin Group (USA), Inc., 2010


About rhapsodyinbooks

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One Response to National Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Kid Lit Review of “Big Red Lollipop” by Rukhsana Khan

  1. BermudaOnion says:

    That does sound like a sweet story. I think the illustrations are wonderful!

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