Nadia's Hands by Karen English, illustrated by Jonathan Weiner. Bodys Mills Press. 1999. ISBN 1-56397-667-6. 32 pages, hardcover, over-size.
Nadia has the duty of being the flower girl in a wedding, and two fears threaten her performance of this duty. The first is the fear of her friends' mocking her should she do something wrong or embarrass herself during the ceremony. The second is the fear of what the schoolchildren will do on Monday when they see the orange mehndi on her hands.
Her fears almost overcame her, but when she saw her extended family's happiness at her appearance, she was able to refocus and complete her task as the flower girl. She was able to accept her hands as her own.
The book is well-written and beautifully illustrated.
I'm always surprised at the rivalries among little girls in children's literature, because I never remember as a little boy having these suspicions about the boys my age. With that reservation, I do like this book, and I'm eager to read it aloud to some children and see if they like it as well.
The book is available from Astrolabe.