The Meat Eating Vegetarian by Caroline Maryam Ward


ImageA quick read even for the 2nd through 4th grade age group with 44 pages, lots of pictures, and generous spacing.  I  feel it could have been done as a picture book, but for the age group and the fact that it is hardback, the book does sit nice on a shelf and encourage a budding reader to open it up and not feel intimidated.  The book is written in British English, so my daughter had a few questions regarding terminology and spelling, which alhumdulillah, gave us a chance to talk about a different culture (albeit a different one than the book was targeting).


British born of Pakistani heritage, Tasneem starts a new school in the fall, she quickly becomes friends with Yvonne and Lisa.  After a play-date at Tasneem’s house however, Lisa and Yvonne feel Tasneem has been lying to them about wearing a scarf and eating vegetarian lunches every day in the cafeteria.  Their teacher helps facilitate a dialog and the girls learn about zabiha, rules of hijab, and the importance of communication in a friendship.


The book is not preachy, Tasneem is Muslim, the other girls are very nice, it is a simple story that helps a Muslim reader see that one can be true to themselves in any environment and succeed.  In terms of identity building it is great to see mixed characters with open minds, but at the same time not present it as trouble free, which is something it often is not.  The only hesitation in recommending this book that I can foresee, is within the Muslim community there is division on Zabiha/Halal.  Tasneem does tell her friends that because she is still young, the hijab is not mandated for her, but the meat issue will either be amazingly relative to a student, or incredibly off putting, depending on their background.

FLAGS: none, completely clean, Alhumdulillah



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