Sometimes the idea and presentation of a book make it stand out even if the writing is a bit bland and erroneous. This book with bright colorful illustrations from 12 different illustrators highlighting the bold colors and designs of 12 masjids around the world is one such book for me. I think young children will delight in seeing such beautiful masjids and appreciate that Muslims are found all over the world. Adults and older children will also learn about mosques I’m sure they had never heard of before. I kind of wish the book was a board book for little hands learning colors to enjoy, but the 8.5 x 8.5 style does suffice for story time and bedtime.
The book starts with an introduction to the author, Jenny and her sharing her favorite mosque in Turkey, Hagia Sophia. Each two page spread after that is a child introducing themselves, telling where they are from, and sharing their favorite mosque in their home country. From Sri Lanka’s Jami Ul Alfar that looks like candy to the purple lights of Mohammed Al Ameen Mosque in Oman. Some masjids stand out for their colors, others for their 99 domes, and some look like castles or are built out of mud.
The illustrations reflect the beautiful buildings and radiate with joy from the smiling children introducing them. I think the text is translated from Turkish to English which might account for some of the errors, but spelling Kabbah with two b’s doesn’t seem right in any language.
Despite it all, I’m happy with the book, I think we need to make a more intentional point to instill a sense of global community in our children and celebrate the beauty that our architecture and culture can result in for the worship of Allah swt.
The book is available from here from Crescent Moon Store.
At 18 pages, this 8 x 8 book focused around colors contains a lot more information than what initially meets your eyes. The warm beautiful, full page pictures fall opposite a highlighted color and a description of that color in the child’s world that reminds the characters of their time at Hajj or celebrating Eid al-Adha. On each of the fun text pages is a light green text box at the bottom with factual information that older children or adults will benefit from and be able to share with younger listeners. The main text is ideal for toddlers and up, and older kids up to 3rd grade will benefit from the nonfiction highlights that can educate or remind Muslims and non Muslims alike, about the importance of Hajj and Eid al-Adha.
The book starts with an introduction about the Islamic language and perspective used, and clarifies that the colours emphasized are to help visualize the point being made, it also gives information about Eid al-Adha.
The colors highlighted are: white, black, brown, green, grey, yellow, and purple. The large simple text takes something relatable such as the monkey bars, or balloons, or the sky and corresponds it to a memory of Arafat, or ihram, or the hills of Safa and Marwa.
The nonfiction text gives specific dimensions of the Ka’aba, the story of Hajar and baby Ismail, the requirement of Hajj and some of the steps. There is a lot of information conveyed which at times is incredibly detailed, and sometimes, rather vague and generic, i.e. Tawaf is when Muslim pilgrims circle the Ka’aba as part of the Hajj rituals. Overall, this little book packs a punch, and I was equally impressed at how it held my five year old’s attention with the colors, and my interest with the facts detailed below.
This 32 page non fiction children’s book uses colors to introduce the very basics of Ramadan and Eid from a non Muslim point of view to a non Muslim audience. The book is done decently and shows diverse Muslims and bright colors interwoven with facts about the month, but by-and-large it is forgetable and just discusses the broader sense of celebration. There is very little that is religious outside of the photographs showing Muslims that are used to illustrate the book. Even the concept of colors in a book by Crayola is a little lacking. Yes, dates are brown, but just to say that “colorful designs cover prayer rugs,” and that “people shop for red and green vegetables, and many orange and brown fruits are used for meals too,” seems really vague and half hearted.
The book starts out with explaining what Ramadan is and defines what a crescent moon is in a blurb under a picture of one. It then explains what happens in Ramadan and dedicates two pages to lanterns that are purple, red, blue and green and used to hang in streets and homes.
It then moves in to the celebrating of Eid Al-Fitr. It shows children playing and having fun and receiving gifts and toys to celebrate. It talks about the food and mentions colors of the food without naming or describing them, it then does the same for desserts.
When explaining the clothes that people wear on Eid, it says that sometimes they are colorful. It then repeats that gifts and money are given, but adds in that they are also given to those in need.
The book concludes with a page that you can copy and color, a glossary, suggestions to learn more, and an index.
A much better, color driven albeit not Ramadan and Eid specific choice would be Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan on in my opinion. Both are widely available in public libraries, maybe check them both out and let me know what you and your children think.
This is one of the first books I got for my first unborn child nearly 14 years ago, and as I am now on my fifth child I only recently realized (thanks @Taleswithmimi) that I have never reviewed this beloved sturdy 10 page 6 x 4.5 inch board book.
It starts by declaring and defining that Allah is Al-Khaliq, the Creator of all I see, it then, in rhyming verse lists some of Allah’s gifts as organized by colors.
Red, green, blue, yellow, orange, purple, white, pink and black, are presented in a fun, and playful way on two page spreads. The fun illustrations and bright colors are well done and perfect size for little ones to take in.
The book was published in 2002 and is still relevant today. I highly suggest it for toddlers to chew on and learn their colors from in an Islamic context. That being said, any religious kids would be fine with the book, while it is Islamic fiction, any faith that acknowledges the Oness of a Creator, will not find anything more religion-specific in the book.
I love that there are tabs on the side to show the colors, and that there are NO FLAPS! It’s companion book that goes over shapes in a similarly beautiful, Allah is Ar-Rahman (the Compassionate) but there are flaps. Thin ones at that. Needless to say they were damaged or gone within days and four of my kids have never enjoyed them!