The version I have is called Allah Created Everything, but it seems that the more common edition is God Created Everything, regardless the book is beautiful, timeless, and a perfect book for story time with the little ones. The simple words and beautiful illustrations are the perfect level for Daycare through Kindergarten students. They can gaze at the pictures and absorb the simple text, and even participate in a powerful conversation after about how Allah/God created us all, and everything around us.
The second book by Mariam Al-Kalby in The Prophet Says Series, is just as good, if not better than the first book, The Apple Tree. Dedicated to her second daughter Maimuna, this story focuses on the hadith, “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hands; if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith” (Sahih Muslim).
The book follows shy Maimuna as she goes from stopping bullies picking on a deaf classmate within her heart, with her tongue and finally as she has to get her hands involved. Once again the illustrator does a wonderful job bringing the story to life with joyful playful illustrations and detail. I used this book with the preschoolers at story time when talking about the five senses and with the kindergartners when talking about bullying and being mean, in both scenarios the book had a strong impact on the students. I’ve had students remind me in passing how we should handle bullies in our heart or with our tongue and even my own 4 year old has referenced the book when seeing people communication in sign language. Like the first book, the discussion that follows can be different with each reading, which keeps it in regular rotation. The bullies are not all bad, but one doesn’t feel guilty giving lots for the reader to speculate upon if they so choose. Shy Maimuna has to be courageous and assess the situation if it is something she feels she can get involved with or not. Mu’min, the child’s whose sandcastles keep getting destroyed, shows us that Allah swt made us each different, but really the same too.
The book has four Urdu words in it, that actually kind of seem awkward and forced, I simply translated them to English when reading to students (there is a glossary in the back), if you are familiar with Urdu they are fine, but rather unnecessary in my opinion. The book has 32 pages, is hardback and beautiful inside and out. The author’s website has a cute coloring page http://apocketfulofnotes.com/2013/11/14/circle-of-sandcastles-coloring-sheet/ and inshaAllah your kids enjoy the book as much as mine do, I can’t wait to see what she writes next.
This book is a great read for explaining the different parts of Hajj in a linear, easy to follow, fun way to children. The author gives facts in a fictionalized setting with Zaahir and his camel, Jamel getting ready for, and performing the hajj. The illustrations are also engaging and give plenty to talk about in both one-on-one reading scenarios and in larger groups. For story time the book works well to read a page then reflect upon and discuss what it is showing and telling us. By stopping on each page the rhyme scheme doesn’t get too forced as well, as some lines are forced and awkward, making the rhythm hard to maintain.
Overall the book is effective and enjoyable. The kids can see from the pictures and the simple words the importance of each step, and get an idea about how they are to be performed. The book is not an AR book, but there is a quiz at the end to see how much they retained.
Night of the Moon is a beautiful book both visually and content wise. The pictures are bright and inviting and consume the entire page, keeping even the youngest of listeners engaged. The book has an AR level of 4.1 and has 32 pages, making it work great for story time and well for independent readers too.
The book tells of seven-year-old Yasmeen, a Pakistani-American girl experiencing Ramadan. The story is moved along by the ever changing phases of the moon. While this book is adequately called a Muslim Holiday Story, it is very cultural. The characters go to the mosque, but the focus of the story is not why we fast, the revelation of the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), or even manners. The story focuses on going to iftar parties, having henna painted on your hands, presents, and the very Pakistani-tradition of celebrating chand-raat, the night of the moon.
I like that this book shows Yasmeen talking about Eid at school with classmates of other backgrounds, I even like that her grandma wears hijab and her mother does not. I also like that they eat a variety of foods, from kebobs to cupcakes. Thus far, so many of the Ramadan and Eid books I’ve read contain the same information in a fictionalized setting, this one is definitely different, instead of focusing on what Ramadan is, it shows how it is celebrated. The book works well for Muslim and non Muslim children from all around the world. If your audience lives in American and has ties to the Asian subcontinent they will see them selves in this book, and even if they don’t, they will probably want to join Yasmeen and her family is celebrating Ramadan and the Night of the Moon.
Zaki’s Ramadhan Fast is an age appropriate picture book for kids trying to fast for the first time (Little ones to 8 or 9 years old). The illustrations drive the story and the short paragraphs explain the excitement and difficulties Zaki experiences on his “first real fast.” The book talks about the rituals of waking up early, the importance of not fighting and getting angry, and the mercy of Allah. Zaki makes his way through the day with the help of his supportive family and climaxes with Zaki forgetting he is fasting and eating a muffin. The book is a great introduction to Islam and Ramadan to children of all backgrounds, but is definitely more applicable to young Muslims trying to fast, especially during these long hot summer days.
With Ramadan here my goal is to round up all my Ramadan and Eid picutre books to share (and hopefully review). Unfortunately school is out for the summer, so it will be mostly just sharing with my own children and nieces and nephews.
Karen Katz, a popular children’s author wrote and illustrated a children’s book about Ramadan and Muslims called My First Ramadan. It is an AR 2.8 and the pictures are done in her signature style, which the kids will recognize and love. Told from a little boy’s perspective he explains Ramadan, Islamic traditions, basics of Islam (Quran, Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)) and some of the five pillars. Words such as iftat, suhoor, fajr, maghrib, are introduced, explained and even have a pronunciation guide in parenthesis.
A few things that I discussed with my kids while reading are that in the picture talking about Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) teaching his followers to break their fast with a date and water, that RasulAllah is NOT pictured and why we don’t picture him. I also explained that each family has traditions, and the one in the book sits on the floor to eat. Islamically it isn’t required. We also talked about why in the book the men and women are in different rooms when they pray and in some Masjids they are in the same room, the men in front and the women in back.
The book mentions and illustrates how happy Ramadan and Eid are, and how Muslims come from all over the world. In the pictures some woman cover, some don’t, but we are all family. All in all a cute book that introduce and reinforces Ramadan.