I love the Eliyas Explains books, but was a little curious what a “Bite-Size Journal” version would be, and Alhumdulillah, the silly relatable voice is the same, there just isn’t as much fictional story weaving together as the Angels and Miracles books had. Instead it has activities and guided prompts for the reader to engage with and space for them to write. The first 15 pages or so are Eliyas explaining about salah and what he has learned and how he has improved, and some parables through his point of view. Then the journal pages begin, and while the first few are truly “journalistic” as it progresses to the last of the 60 pages you realize along the way there was a lot of “story” included on the activity pages as well. The book isn’t blank pages and bound together as a book, it has text, it has hadith, it has games, it has questions, and trackers, and a lot of information. I love that it states that it has been checked and the Shaykh’s name is included, the positive child framing, and the reasonable price point. For first through third graders learning about salah, wudu, athan, and inshaAllah becoming more mindful of their actions and behavior, this book will be relatable, funny, and informative.
The book starts with Eliyas remembering when he was too lazy to make wudu and pray his salah, he then offers a story of an orphan and a muffin and a lady who makes the muffin to try and show readers that salah benefits and nourishes us and the maker of the muffin truly loves us. It is a little random, but it somehow all works and kids will go along with the allegory, it isn’t drawn out. He then moves to talking about how Allah swt loves him and what his parents told him that helped him to love praying. There are hadith and Eliyas’s explanation attempts, drawings, and some really powerful points about angels and being accountable on the day of judgement to Allah swt. The journal pages involve decoding, timing your prayers, writing down all the places you’ve prayed, latitude and longitude decoding and a lot more. The book also discusses the athan and Surah Fatiha.
WHY I LIKE IT:
I love the voice of Eliyas. It isn’t fear driven, or punishment framed, it stays positive and motivates from a place of love, but the conscience and priorities are highlighted too. It is such a crucial part of raising young Muslims, to lead with Allah’s love, but as kids get older you want to introduce consequences, and choices, and being accountable, and this book does it seamlessly with out it being overwhelming.
I honestly don’t know if I like the journal format or the other Eliya’s Explains books more, I do like the storytelling of Miracles and Angels and the way the facts are woven in, but I think for the topic of Salah this format works. I am happy with mine, and you can purchase yours here from Crescent Moon Store.
TOOLS FOR LEADING THE DISCUSSION:
I don’t think the book would work for a book club, but in small groups at an Islamic School or Weekend School the teacher could very easily and affordably have a book for each student, or read aloud the story parts and engage the students in the activities without any difficulty at all.