Kwanzaa in our library

The word Kwanzaa above a painting of a Kanzaa candlestick holding red black and green candles surrounded by seven symbols

26 December to 1 January marks the celebration of Kwanzaa, originally established in 1966 as a celebration of family, community and culture and a way for African Americans to get in touch with their African heritage, and now celebrated in many countries around the world.

One of our young library users, Isis, has been learning about Kwanzaa and has created art on the theme which you can see in the library as part of our display. Here’s a short interview with Isis:

Hi Isis – thanks for talking to us. I’d just like to ask you a few questions. Firstly, how much did you already know about Kwanzaa?

A little, because last year we learnt about some of the ways people celebrate Kwanzaa so I knew a little, and then I learnt more about the principles this year. 

Why do you think it’s important to learn about it?

Because celebrating Kwanzaa is important for some people and others should know about it too, this might inspire other people to take part in it too. It’s a way to celebrate the year, and achievements and looking back. There are positive principles and people are more positive and focused.

Was there anything you learned which really surprised you?

That it goes on for 7 days, as other holidays are only for a day. 

The names and symbols of the 7 principles of Kwanzaa arranged around the words Kwanzaa yenu iwe na heri Happy Kawanzaa!
The seven Principles of Kwanzaa. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the principles

What’s your favourite thing about Kwanzaa?

That each day means something different, and it’s something to work with other people and family on. And that you make things for other people, you have to think about what you‘re going to make.

Do you make things for other people a lot? Do you do art for other people?

I’ve made my nan and my uncles paintings.

I prefer giving presents to getting them. I’ve enjoyed making them, and I’m looking forward to giving them.

My favourite principle is Kuumba which is all about creativity. 

That doesn’t surprise me, since you’re such a creative person. Do you think creativity is really important at the moment?

Yes, because it helps people to be happy and calm.

How do you feel about having your art on display in the library?

I liked making the art and it’s cool for it to be on display for other people to see. I’m looking forward to visiting the library to see it in real life.

Kwanzaa  display in library including artwork of 7 branched candle and symbols of the 7 principles, books and information cards.
The display will be in the library throughout Kwanzaa

It’s good to have different people’s art in the library, you get to see everybody’s style of art.

Which books have you most enjoyed in our library?

I’ve enjoyed looking at some books that have helped me to get better at sketching and art. 

Are there any books we don’t have that you think we should get? What do you enjoy reading?

I’d like more young adult novels like the books by Kaylnn Bayron, with diverse characters. 

Isis also shared with us her review of Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron:

Such an amazing book!

Cinderella is Dead is an eloquent and brilliantly written book by Kalynn Bayron, it is a dystopian novel based on the main character Sophia Grimmings who is forced to go to a ball along with other girls. At the ball a man (they may have never met before) chooses them to be their future wife but Sophia doesn’t want that SHE wants to choose! Lillie is the place she lives and 200 years before her generation this is the place where Cinderella and Prince Charming had their ‘happily ever after’ at least that is what they say.

Some of the themes in the book were dictatorship, patriarchy, power and control

The king is a dictator and lets the men rule over the women and gives them no say in anything.

I really enjoyed reading this book and I especially enjoyed the ending. I couldn’t stop reading it and finished it in 3 days which is surprisingly fast! The only thing is I wish there was a sequel.

More about Kwanzaa

There are a number of books about Kwanzaa in our library, including

K is for Kwanzaa: a Kwanzaa alphabet book

Kwanzaa karamu: cooking and crafts for a Kwanzaa feast


Imani’s gift at Kwanzaa