This isn’t the typical book I would review, but after spending some time in a middle school language arts classroom teaching this school year, I thought I should at least acknowledge the value a book like this can have in a classroom or homeschool curriculum, and that it shouldn’t be completely overlooked and dismissed. I didn’t get swept away by any of the poems, and honestly am confused by the title seeing as the title page quickly clarifies that a lunar year is 51 weeks? That being said, poetry is such a religious and cultural staple that haikus, sonnets, acrostic poems, free verse absolutely should be taught through an Islamic lens, and why not. So, while it might not be a book that an upper elementary through middle schooler would pick up and read on their own, it is structured to be taught, and I think educators should consider implementing it in whole, or in part, when teaching structure, and rhyme scheme, and iambic beats.
The poems vary in style and topic and length, and are divided by the Islamic lunar calendar months written in Arabic calligraphy. The true value of the book is the backmatter, though in my opinion. The details about the poem, about form and structure and prompts to try your own.
I could really see slipping in an Islamic poem when teaching Shakespearean sonnets, and encouraging children to write a ballad or limerick in praise of an Islamic tenant. I’m a big fan of blurring what is Islamic and what is secular as I don’t find them mutually exclusive, and this little book did a great job reminding me that Islamic centered poetry is important, and Islamic poetry isn’t just translated from other languages.
Happy reading, and inshaAllah happy writing! The book can be found HERE for purchase.