This 16 page holiday book is one in a series of six. It keeps the text simple, the images bright and inviting, and turns the pages in to a search and find activity to increase time spent with the material. The information is accurate and basic, there is nothing wrong (phew) with this recent addition to the very crowded nonfiction holiday book field. In fact I appreciate that dates are explained and that the food looks tempting even if non Muslim children aren’t familiar with the dishes. It shows a child in sajood and explains that he is praying. The realistic pictures show smiling faces and Muslim kids will feel represented. Non Muslim readers will become familiar with Ramadan as a time of fasting, the Quran, and prayer.
The pictures to look for are given at the beginning and again at the end with the “answers.” The limited pages have very minimal text. The first one mentions a lantern being hung for Ramadan. It then states that Ramadan is a Muslim holy month where people fast, don’t eat or drink.
It shows a picture of the Quran and says it is used to pray, before showing someone praying on a prayer rug. When the sun has set it is time to eat. Dates are a sweet fruit to snack on after dark. It then shows a child and adult making dua and again reiterates that the holy month is for praying and helping others.
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.