Cover Image: The Big Buna Bash

The Big Buna Bash

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Member Reviews

This is a cute story about a little girl from Ethiopia who is embarrassed about her name. I enjoyed learning about the coffee ceremony, though am unsure if the target audience will fully be able to grasp what it is. Wonderful illustrations!
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Shout out to NetGalley for letting me review this adorable new book, The Big Buna Bash ☕ This is a story about Almaz, a young Ethiopian girl that is trying to settle into her new school. An incident happens in class that makes her to feel embarrassed about her Ethiopian culture. So what does Almaz's family decide to do? Throw a big buna bash and invite all of her classmates! 

Beautiful illustrations and an endearing story make this a great choice for reading aloud. Through Almaz we learn that experiencing new cultures enriches our lives and is a great way to make new friends.
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The Big Buna Bash tells of the Ethiopian tradition of having coffee with friends and showing hospitality. Almaz decides to host a Buna Bash so her classmates will gain a better understanding of her culture. Overall the book makes its point about accepting and embracing differences. The illustrations are lovely even though Almaz and Eleanor wears the same outfit two days in a row to school. A glossary with Ethiopian terms used in the book would have been a nice addition.
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This book was beautiful and educational. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the idea behind it. It just goes to show that we are often afraid of what we don't know. I highly recommend this book.
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This is a quick enjoyable read about a girl from Ethiopia and her attempts to be accepted at school. She is teased for being different.  Rather than retreat she tries to find a way to help her classmates understand more about her culture.  While it is easily understood by younger children it is also a great addition to a unit in higher grades about acceptance. 
     The illustrations add a lot to the story.
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The Big Buna Bash is a lovely story. Written for, and about, lower elementary ages, cultural exchange and compassion are two big takeaways.
The illustrations are beautiful...though I wish there had been more.

I left a review on Goodreads...Sylvia C-B
Promo on Instagram.. Sylviachibuo
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I love coffee and this story about how sharing the experience of preparing & drinking coffee together in Ethiopia is encouraging. This is a great introduction to conversations about differences in appearance, celebrations, and experiences. It would make a lovely gift included with coffee and a special cup. Adults and children could enjoy this book together for read aloud time.
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Meet Almaz, a beautiful first grader who accidentally shouts "BUNA," an Ethiopian word, at her new school. What at first is an embarrassment turns into a cultural lesson on her family's and nation's coffee celebration. In "The Big Buna Bash" by Sara Arnold and illustrated by Roberta Malasomma, Almaz is the perfect host. Elementary readers will enjoy this quick read.
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Of course, we couldn't resist pairing this book with a fresh brew of Ethiopian Harrar, smooth sweet and creamed like the children who attend Almaz's Big Buna Bash.
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One should never be ashamed of one's culture, even if those around you do not understand it or make fun of you for it. Almaz is Ethiopian , it means diamond. She overcomes bullying and exposes her classmates to a buna, coffee, party. There they put aside their differences and learn of the Ethiopian tradition and receive a baraka (blessing).
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This is such a cute way for kids to learn to accept others cultures. We need more books like this! The illustrations were done good as well.
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" Buna means "coffee" in Ethiopia. The buna ceremony is an important part of Ethiopian and Eritrean culture.  During the ceremony, the hostess prepares the coffee in front of her guests and then serves it as a sign of friendship and hospitality.  A buna ceremony is not only about drinking coffee, but also a way of bringing people together!"


This book is just lovely in text and visually. Warning, it will make you want a hot cup of coffee.


Almaz, Is a first grade girl and is a a new Ethiopian immigrant.  She feels embarrassed during roll call because her name is different from her classmates. Here, Almaz wishes for a regular name like everyone else in the class. 

One morning in her Language Arts class she makes a mistake concerning a native word Buna, which leaves her feeling very embarrassed.  As a result, she  is taunted and teased by the other children. 

At home Almaz breaks down and shares her hurt feelings to her mom and big sister. Big sister says HER friends think A Buna party sounds like a lot of fun.  So, they decide to throw a buna bash so her classmates can experience Ethiopian culture and traditions. 

I like how the family turns a sad, hurtful situation into a happy, heartwarming one. I do believe this age child would be accepting of a different kind of party and want to attend. 

The illustrations are rich  and greatly support the storyline.  

 The story highlights that children should be proud and embrace their heritage and uniqueness in this diverse world. And, we should be receptive and accepting of those who different to us.
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Even though the book wanted to have the message of diversity is okay, I felt it was a bit poorly executed, even to the point that Almaz wished she had a "normal" name to blend in more. If the book had been written by a POC, I think it would have been a bit different. I liked the illustrations though.
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I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgallery, in exchange for a honest review.  I am an assistant principal of K-4.  Children's literature is my passion.  I found the goal of this book to be trying to support a child of a different ethnic group.  I was disappointed in the solution.  I do not want to encourage young children to drink coffee. The strength of the book is the illustrations.
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I love coffee and I Loved this story because it is about coffe ( Buna in Ethiopia).
It is cute tale about a girl and her classmates.
It tells value of getting together and talking to each other over coffee.
It also tells about power of traditions which aim to bi d us and focus on collectivism in stead of individualism.

Artwork is good and paints the story very well.
My son liked the story and pictures.
Thanks netgalley and publisher for review copy.
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*received for free from netgalley for honest review* I really love what this book was going for but I don't think I hit the mark exactly, first off, she didn't make a mistake in class, I felt that tho easily overlooked that part gave a saying something in a different language in "wrong" or a "mistake" and, its not. I also feel like this book was really "everyone has to like you" kinda thing. Im a very white passing person, who grew up in a rather white area and, tho mine were a different ethnicity, this book reminded me of somethings in my childhood and like that's not how it was handled as a was a child, by students, teachers and parents a like. 


also just feel this book had a whole.... uncomfortable "white culture is normal/the best" especially in the first part of the book, though I get where they were going I just feel it was glossed over then never really mentioned? like oh they came to her party! theyre not ignorant anymore! very simplistic as most kids books are, but I feel this might not be the best book for kids who actually plan on bring cultural traditions to class that way...
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" Buna means "coffee" in Ethiopia. The buna ceremony is an important part of Ethiopian and Eritrean culture.  During the ceremony, the hostess prepares the coffee in front of her guests and then serves it as a sign of friendship and hospitality.  A buna ceremony is not only about drinking coffee, but also a way of bringing people together!"


Almaz, a young girl in grade one, is a new Ethiopian immigrant.  She feels weird because of her name when her teacher Mrs. Hill calls the roll. Why can't she have a regular name like everyone else in the class?  One fateful Tuesday morning in her Language Arts class she makes a mistake which leaves her feeling very embarrassed.  She is taunted and teased by the other kids around her.  Oh my!  

When she gets home she relays her frustration and hurt feelings to her mom and big sister. They decide to throw a buna bash so her classmates can experience Ethiopian culture and traditions.  But will her friends accept her invitation and want to come?  

The message of the book is positive as a buna party extends kindness, friendship and inclusiveness to all. I like how the family turns a sad, hurtful situation into a happy, heartwarming one.  The illustrations are lovely and enrich the storyline greatly.  They are, vibrant and colourful and express the emotions that Almaz is feeling.  Lastly, the book points out that kids can be proud of their heritage and uniquenss in a world that is so diverse.  I like the book a lot and highly recommend it.
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I wanted to like this more, but after having experienced coffee with Ethiopian and Eritrean friends, I felt like something was lacking in the story.  

An ongoing complaint I have is that so many books currently are trying to show the immigrant experience, not giving other kids windows into other lives in other places.  Why not show an Ethiopian girl experiencing the role of coffee within her own culture, in her own country?  Also, there is a danger when a non-Ethiopian tries to show something that's so central to a culture.  While part of writing is putting oneself into another life, there definitely needs to be care and a lot of sensitivity.  I feel like that's part of why the book doesn't ring true.  Why not show how one of Almaz's friends grows and changes because of Almaz's actions?  

In spite of all this, I am still giving the book 3 stars, just because it does give a glimpse of a culture that's very under-represented in English language children's literature.

Review based on a review copy received through NetGalley.
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The Big Buna Bash
by Sara C. Arnold
Brandylane Publishers
Belle Isle Books
Children’s Fiction , Multicultural Interest
Pub Date 05 Feb 2020


I am reviewing a copy of The Big Buna Bash through Brandylane Publshers/ Belle Isle Books and Netgalley:
In this beautifully written and illustrated Picture book, Almaz get’s embarrassed by the mistakes she makes in school, and the way that others don’t understand her Ethiopian Culture, so she comes up with the idea to have a Big Buna Bash, in a Buna ceremony the coffee is boiled, poured into another vessel and back into the decorative pot, boiled and poured again, for a total of three cups being served each representing something different.



If you are looking for a book to help your early elementary school age child understand one aspect of the Ethiopian Culture better then I would recommend The Big Buna Bash.
I give this book five our of five stars!The Big Buna Bash
by Sara C. Arnold
Brandylane Publishers
Belle Isle Books
Children’s Fiction , Multicultural Interest
Pub Date 05 Feb 2020


I am reviewing a copy of The Big Buna Bash through Brandylane Publshers/ Belle Isle Books and Netgalley:
In this beautifully written and illustrated Picture book, Almaz get’s embarrassed by the mistakes she makes in school, and the way that others don’t understand her Ethiopian Culture, so she comes up with the idea to have a Big Buna Bash, in a Buna ceremony the coffee is boiled, poured into another vessel and back into the decorative pot, boiled and poured again, for a total of three cups being served each representing something different.



If you are looking for a book to help your early elementary school age child understand one aspect of the Ethiopian Culture better then I would recommend The Big Buna Bash.


I give this book five our of five stars!


Happy Reading!

Happy Reading!
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I received an advanced reader copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review via netgalley and the publishers.

This book is a short story about a little girl from Ethiopia who makes a mistake during a phonics lesson in her class and feels embarrassed about her culture. She speaks to her family about it and decides to host a "buna" party for her class to show them what the celebration means. 
This is a lovely short story with lovely illustrations that teach children from other cultures that it is ok to be different and also teaches children not from said culture that it is often interesting and exciting to learn about things from other cultures too.
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While I do appreciate what this book was trying to do, I don't think it really works. The description of the buna party and its cultural significance is all fine. My issues with this have more to do with cultural appropriation and the obvious Western bias of the author.

When Almaz calls out an answer in class (she does not make a mistake; I don't know why the synopsis even says that), she's ridiculed by the ignorant students. So she decides to host a buna party to give them a taste of one aspect of her Ethiopian culture. At first, the other kids don't seem interested, but after Almaz explains it to them, they decide to come to the party. Everyone has a great time, and we find out that Almaz's name means "diamond" (that's random, but whatever).

The problems started early for me when roll-call was happening and Almaz wishes she had a "regular" name. She's been at the school for under a month, so she's either been acculturated mind-blowingly quickly, or this is the author's bias peeking through.

Then the teacher wants everyone to come up with words that contain the "oo" sound. Almaz comes up with "buna" (which is apparently her "mistake"; I'm still not sure why). Some kids at the back of the room begin to laugh at her (she calls them "dorky boys"; I guess teaching kids not to call each other names is beyond the scope of this book), and she gets embarrassed. Things don't get any better as the day goes on. At lunch, some boys mock her by making baboon noises under the table. (They're not called out for their racism, either. That seems like a weird thing not to address in a children's book about acceptance.)

At the party, the first thing one of the guests asks is if Almaz's mother can braid her hair. Then the kids alternately disparage the tradition of buna and gush over it (which may be a fairly realistic reaction from antsy kids, but it's kind of confusing in a picture book).

The illustrations are really not my cup of tea (or... coffee?). Although they're bright and colourful, I would've preferred to see something that had a more Ethiopian flair. There's also little consistency when it comes to proportions; in some illustrations, the characters look top-heavy with their huge heads... but in other pictures, the body-head ratio looks more normal.

I did learn a little bit about buna, so that's something. I just wish that the story and illustrations had been stronger to go along with the interesting topic. (And it would've been nice if it hadn't felt like I was reading a non-Ethiopian's idea of an Ethiopian child's story.)
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