On my first read through, this book came across as a bit text heavy and the presentation didn’t quite fit with the content for the target audience, but when my seven year old read it, then reread it, and my 12 year old picked up and read it and both said, “it’s good,” I realized, the target audience is not little kids, nor is it adults, it is kids who have fasted and have felt the pangs of hunger. The character is getting through his first day, but the relatability is for kids everywhere fasting for the first time the hundredth time and everywhere in between. It is Islam centered, I appreciate the healthy food temptations and the unwavering that fasting needs to be done, but as an adult and an educator, so often I wanted to interject Islamic touchstone to getting through the day asking Allah for help, talking your self up and increasing your determination by knowing the Angels are recording your struggles and you will be rewarded in the akhira, and while Quran is read, and a surah loved, and Islamic phrases included, the focus of the book is a little boy in a very idyllic family trying to keep hungry thoughts away. The small 8 x 8 soft back book with 22 thick cardboard pages would be a bit hard to share at story time, but the simple concept story is fine in smaller groups and at bed time.
The books starts with Ahmed fasting for the first time in Ramadan, he has a list of things he needs to complete his fast: 1-Keep busy, 2- Don’t think about food, and 3-Stay away from the kitchen. I found when reading it to my younger kids I would pause here to discuss why we fast, and that we are doing it for the sake of Allah, so we need Him to be successful, not distractions.
Ahmed starts with reading his favorite book about a charitable boy, the illustrations though had baskets full of shiny, big, read apples. “Grr, Hunger Alert!” He runs to his brother’s room to keep busy with a soccer video game, but the prize on the screen are big, yellow bananas. “Grr, Hunger Alert!” This continues throughout the day, including while reading Surah Rahman, and the pomegranates trigger yet another Hunger Alert. When Grandpa asks him to take strawberries to his mom and his mom is in the kitchen, each of his rules will have to be broken.
With iftaar approaching and fruit chaat waiting, Ahmed will have to persevere to complete his fast. There is a glossary at the back and the book you can search online to find where the book is available near you http://www.compassbooks.ca