This beautifully illustrated 34 page story about the loss of a beloved grandfather is universal and heartfelt. It is not an Islamic fiction book as there is no mention of the duniya or akhira or accepting Allah’s decree, the family however, is visibly Muslim and it shows women in hijab and the little girl narrator praying salat with her now deceased grandfather. Similarly, there are no cultural words or references in the text, but the illustrations show Bangladeshi culture, writing, and warmth. The author is a psychotherapist and counselor, and all readers, young children and up, will benefit from the tenderness and emotion-filled paperback book.
A young girl starts the book stating that she has lost something. She recalls other things she has lost, a scarf, a toy, her voice, a tooth, and how after a while the item was found or it came back and she was able to carry on. Today, however, is not the same, she has lost her grandfather, and he isn’t coming back, and she doesn’t know if she can carry on.
She goes to his house, and he isn’t there, and the heartbreak is palpable. She knows in time she will forget the lost scarf and lost voice, but she doesn’t want to ever forget her grandfather. She finds some pictures and recalls him teaching her to ride her bike, them praying together, and planting a garden, his stories, his smell, his laugh, his hugs.
As she assembles the pictures in a scrapbook, she is filled with memories and warmth and his wisdom. The book ends with her seemingly coming to accept her new reality and then the book asking the reader if they have felt loss, what memories they carry, and what they miss the most about those that are gone.
The sparse text and amazingly expressive illustrations make the book a beautiful addition to help children cope with their own feelings, and to learn empathy for others going through their own trials of loss.