This dual lingo: English and Spanish is a linear story of Ahmed going for Jummah prayers. The rhyming text in both languages is fairly consistent and the information framed in an upbeat, fun, positive way. From waking up early and taking ghusl to reading Surah al-Kahf, the book shows some spiritual aspects, some sunnah reminders, and social Jummah interactions with friends as well. The 48 pages are good for preschool to early elementary aged readers and with the minimal text on the pages, even younger listeners will enjoy the book. I wish the religious statements were sourced, and while I didn’t initially love the aesthetics of the puppets when I first saw the cover, I definitely warmed up to Ahmed and absolutely cooed at the adorable (puppet) Imam. The book starts with a sourced hadith and ayat from the Quran and ends with questions to test your knowledge.
The story begins in a bit of an awkward fashion with Ahmed breaking down the fourth wall, and addressing the reader, and then on the next page, the “narrator” reaching out to the readers to have them pay attention to Ahmed. Then the story starts with asking if the reader knows what the special day of the week is called. It then tells us that it is called Friday in English, Jummah in Arabic and that I, Ahmed, is going to tell us about it. With all the introductions and signposting it makes the book actually start 11 pages in. I read the first few spreads numerous times trying to see what was going on, and finally just realized it has a lot of framing and set up before diving in. Alhumdulillah, after the repetitive first few pages, the book reads smooth and clearly.
Ahmed wakes up, does ghusl, puts on nice clothes, and then waits until midday to go to salatul Jummah. Muslims read Surah al-Kahf, and then get to the mosque early. It is noted that we get rewards for every step we take, we are encouraged to praise our Lord, we greet friends with Salam, and after athan we sit calmly and quietly listening to the Imam. The khutbah talks about our faith and then we pray foot to foot closing the gaps. The last few spreads are about the importance of Jummah.
The illustrations show Ahmed the puppet in different places with other Wendy Diaz books displayed in poster form, books on side tables, and graffitied on a wall. The only other character beside Ahmed and the Imam is Ahmed’s un named friend. The simple illustrated backgrounds with puppets in the foreground, the minimal rhyming text and the content presentation make this book a great addition to home and school libraries as well as ideal at story time or bedtime where early elementary aged children are able to understand both the excitement and protocols of the blessed day.
Over the years I’ve done a few Jummah themed readings and this book would be a great addition at story time. You can purchase the book here.