Tag Archives: sick

Our Granddad by Maryam Ahmed illustrated by Kulthum Burgess

Our Granddad by Maryam Ahmed illustrated by Kulthum Burgess


This 29 page (four chapter) middle elementary book about understanding sickness, old age, and a bit of death, makes some good points about sabr and dua and Allah testing us with illness.  The story, however, is really dry and never becomes more than just a vehicle for conveying the author’s message of how Islam views elders and the challenges often brought upon as they age.


Hafsah, age 8, and her 11 year old brother Hasan are meeting after school so that they can join their parent’s in the long drive to Devon to check on their sick grandfather.  The drive is apparently really long, but being that we don’t know where the kids live or how long the drive is, we just know it is a long, painful, miserable drive.  The family is silent with worry about the grandfather on the trip, but no indicators as to what his diagnosis or symptoms are is given, just that he is ill and as the night and drive progress, the children worry he is dying.  Hasan, in the darkness of the car, sheds some tears about losing his fun granddad, but no details about the adventures they go on, or why he is fun are shared.  Their mom encourages them to continue to make dua and tells them that maybe the illness is a blessing, but the children don’t understand what she means by that.

When they arrive, the children are told it is too late bother their granddad and to wait til morning to see him.  The next day the doctor tells them he had an asthma attack and is on new medicines that are helping.  Seems like there should be more to the illness, as asthma once the attack is over can be controlled, and no other mention of heart problems or pneumonia or other diseases are indicated.  Hafsah and Hasan finally get to see him and are surprised he is awake and talking and they learn that sometimes Allah tests us by giving us hardships and that their duas and prayers were helping.  He shares the hadith, “No Muslim is afflicted with an ordeal, be it an illness or something else, without Allah thereby causing his sins to drop away just as a tree sheds its leaves.” Unfortunately, the hadith is not footnoted or attributed, but the characters and readers understand the lesson and find peace in knowing that every hardship is an opportunity not a punishment.


I love the concept of the book, just not the execution of the principles it instructionally conveys.  Kids need books that explain some of the big concepts that they can’t necessarily understand or even ask about, such is why do we get sick, what is going to happen to our grandparents etc.  The book really just needed more showing and less telling.  It details how the kids chase each other home from school, but doesn’t tell of the adventures that granddad and Hasan go on, it just tells us that they miss having these adventures.  There is no character development, and there is definitely space for the reader to feel for the grandpa and the concern of the kids, but it is glossed over in words not in anecdotal sharing.

The book is British, and some of the words and phrases might be confusing to American kids, such as the description of the grandfather being poorly used repetitively.

The book is presented well with clear font and spacing on glossy pages bound in a hard illustrated cover.  There are small detailed life-like pictures throughout the story that show the kids and family.  The females are in hijab and the family is clearly Muslim.





This is probably a decent book to have in an Islamic School library, it would function as a reference book more than a novel or book kids would naturally pick up.  If doing a theme on aging or sickness, or tests from Allah, this book would fit in nicely in adding to a discussion, but outside of that, I can’t see that kids will even remember the book or what it is about.



Sajaad is Sick by Mini Mu’min Du’a Series


sajaad is sick

I picked this book up on a whim to go with my “being healthy” or “community helpers” story time themes.  I had never heard about it and the pictures, while colorful, aren’t very detailed or engaging.  I was hoping the rhyming couplets and familiar concept of going to the doctor would at least review some key concepts in an Islamic manner.  Alhumdulillah, the book not only met my expectations, but exceeded them.

The first fabulous surprise is that the Doctor is female, not that it should be an issue, but it is nice to find books that definitely don’t assume a familiar stereotype.  The second surprise is that at 28 pages, the rhymes never seem forced or awkward, it flows very nicely, mashaAllah. I read the book to 3,4, and 5 year old students and it managed to keep everyone’s attention.  The students got concerned when Sajaad worried if he would have a shot, they tried to remember the name for “stethoscope,” they enjoyed learning the dua for being sick and the dua to make for those that are sick, and they even liked that they often also get lollipops when they leave the doctor’s office.

Overall the book was a good review of what happens at the doctors office in an Islamic tone.  It would work well to reassure children that might be nervous about what they might experience.  It was interesting to watch the kids “read” the book after story time to each other imitating a teacher.  For most students it is a topic that they feel mastery over and you could see their confidence when they retold the story.

I’ll be keeping my eye out for other books in the Mini Mu’min Du’a Series to see if they are of similar quality and can serve in a similar capacity in the library.