This book is beautiful, it feels great in your hands, the raised glitter embellishments in the illustrations, the price point, everything except the text. The gist of the story is even fine, the execution is just off. It reads very much like it has been translated from another language in to English, and yes my privilege might be showing, but the phrasing, the passive voice, the orphanage, all make the book with its massive text passages hard to convince kids younger than 7 to sit through.
The story starts off with parents and two kids , Murad and Batul, driving to a friend’s house for dinner, commenting on the Christmas decorations that they see. The parents ask what the kids know about Eid al-Adha that is coming up and the kids remember how much fun they had in Turkey. Except it is really awkward to get this bit of information out. They discuss Eid last year, and then remind each other that they were in Turkey, and how it was much more fun. Noting that international travel is expensive and they won’t be able to go again, the Mom over dinner discusses how they can make Eid fun for the kids with her friend.
It is decided that the Muslim and non Muslims will celebrate together and include a local orphanage. “Each Muslim family would be responsible for buying new clothes for two children from the orphanage, and they would take their own children along to do the shopping.” This would teach the kids to thank Allah and learn about community and sharing. A great lesson overall, again just a concept presented in a really wordy, round about, awkwardly forced manner.
The Mom contacts the library and gets permission to decorate an information table, the kids make Eid cards for their grandfather in Turkey, at Sunday school they make gifts for friends. They learn about Zakat and sacrificing an animal like Allah commanded Abraham to do, they even send cards to their neighbors. Oddly though remarking how fun it is to get candy outside of Halloween. After the first two pages explaining Christmas and telling that Muslims don’t celebrate it, I found it odd that they would, 15 pages later, be referencing Halloween.
Some of the sentences also don’t made sense. About half way through I didn’t understand what the author meant by the boys “celebrating each other’s Eid” after they put their new clothes on and went to Eid prayer.
Once at the party, they give specific details of how much they charged everyone, yet no details about the food they all brought. The kids enjoy a pinata and everyone including the orphans get Eid gifts. Despite everyone’s fun the party has to end, and the orphans return to the orphanage and Murad and Batul declare they “will always remember this Eid.”
The illustrations are great, it is really yet another example of a book just needing a good editor. From the very beginning, even the title isn’t really right, the book isn’t even mainly about Batul, to the random details shared, the book is just too long and too unpolished. It is really unfortunate, because it has so much going for it on its 32 pages. The main points however, I feel are lost about Eid and the reason it is so dear to Muslims everywhere.