For some this book may have a lot going on it’s 32 pages: Eid ul Adha, parents at Hajj, refugees, charity, Pakistani culture, but if you are reading this book to Muslim children (or they are reading it independently, it has an AR level of 3.8) i think it is delightful.
Aneesa wakes up on Eid morning missing her parents who are in Saudi Arabia performing Hajj. Her grandma, Nonni, surprises her with three new outfits complete with bangles and shoes for each of the days of Eid and is preparing her favorite dinner, lamb korma, for them to eat after Eid prayers. At Eid prayers Aneesa meets some refugee girls and wants to do something to make their Eid a little brighter. Nonni and Aneesa come up with a plan and the result is “the best Eid ever!”
I love that it has morals and plot and sparks dialogue. The message is so simple yet beautiful, that it stays with the reader, adult and child alike. The illustrations are beautiful and warm providing a nice balance to the long passages. There is an author’s note and Glossary in the back, but I think this book is really intended for a Muslim audience familiar with Hajj, Eid, and Paksitani culture. It wouldn’t be lost on someone new to the vocabulary and customs, but definitely wouldn’t be as magical or memorable.
My 3rd grader loved the book and we were able to talk about it and reflect upon it long after the initial reading. My younger boys enjoyed it, but didn’t get as much out of it. I think this book works better in smaller groups rather than story time, or simply to have on the shelf to sweep the reader up and allow them to draw their own conclusions on what it means to do something for someone else.