Ramadan Book Reviews
We are so excited to welcome in the beautiful and blessed month of Ramadan! We know that teachers and admin are very busy wrapping up the school year. We pray that Allah accepts everything you do for your staff, students and extended school community as an act of worship.
In celebration of this month, some of our Islamic Educators’ Communication Network (IECN) members wrote book reviews on Ramadan-themed books. Enjoy!
by Fawzia Gilani Williams
Ramadan is a special time that requires getting up on time for Sahoor. The Ramadan Drummer by Fawzia Gilani Williams is a charming book that teaches children about Sahoor and the importance of time and how being of service and loving what you do is more important than gold/money. Abu Dub Dub, the drummer wakes the people in his village with his drum and his catchy song. The book incorporates key Islamic terms within the story, such as, “MashaAllah,” and “JazakAllah Khairun.” We see the characters dressed in traditional dress, and the mention of gold instead of money seems to place this book in a place and time far away, giving it a fairytale like quality. The Ramadan Drummer is best for ages 5-8.
Lubna Jawaid is an elementary school librarian in a public school in North Carolina
by Hena Khan
It is the beginning of Ramadan and George cannot wait to take part in the celebration with his friend Kareem. Kareem decides to fast and George helps him get through the day. He then sits down to break the fast with Kareem and his family. George and the man in the yellow hat also go to the majid to prepare food baskets. They also try to spot the moon which will signal the end of Ramadan and exchange eid gifts.
This book is targeted towards a younger audience, 3+ and up. It teaches kids about the basics of Ramadan like suhoor, iftar, going to the masjid, doing good deeds and exchanging gifts in a simple manner. It is a wonderful, well-written book that captures the beauty of Ramadan.
Annie Bhutta is a middle school Islamic studies at Sunrise Academy in Ohio.
by Reem Faruqi, illustrated by Lea Lyon
© 2015 –ISBN:9780884484318
It can be hard to be different in school, especially when you are younger. Children tend to see differences, even those just perceived, and the results aren’t always pretty. Teachers, trying to deal with the students in the class might not always understand how best to help students of a different faith or origin of birth especially if they haven’t had much exposure to those individuals in the past.
Something as different as a child fasting or wearing hijab can be a challenge for non-Muslims to understand especially in today’s climate of misinformation, fear, and hostility towards anything or anyone different from a group’s majority. This is where a book like Lailah’s Lunchbox comes in handy.
Lailah’s Lunchbox tells the story of ten-year-old Lailah from Abu Dhabi, newly moved to Atlanta, GA. Now that she’s ten, Lailah is delighted that she can fast during the month of Ramadan like her family and friends in Abu Dhabi, but finding the right way to explain to her teacher and classmates in Atlanta about the privilege of fasting is a challenge until she gets some good advice from the school librarian, Mrs. Scrabble.
Beautifully written and illustrated, this book is a wonderful way to bring both Muslim children and their non-Muslim friends together. Read it for classroom story time or as an evening treat. It is sure to open up the season of Ramadan for everyone.
Elise Bellin, Librarian of the Islamic Resource Center, wrote this book review as part of an ongoing series that focuses on a range of books within the IRC collection as a service to the community.
Reposted with permission from the Wisconsin Muslim Journal. View original post here.
by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gammon
While not as widely known about or practiced in the West, many Muslim Middle Eastern countries celebrate a part of Ramadan, in the case of the book it is the three days of the full moon, in a way that much resembles a cross between what Western Christians would recognize as Christmas caroling and Halloween (All Hallow’s Eve) trick-or-treating. For a couple of specific days in the course of the holiday month, in addition to fasting, praying, reading the Qur’an, visiting family, and other holiday activities, children get to dress up, carry a festive Ramadan lantern and decorated bag around with them, singing songs of Ramadan and collecting candy. It varies from country to country, region to region, as to what the dates are and what treats are handed out, but one thing is for sure, it is a fun break for youngsters from the holiday rigor that is Ramadan.
In The White Nights of Ramadan, Addasi paints us a picture of what that event looks like and what it means to the children partaking in it. She then goes on to add further meaning to it with meaningful exchanges between the daughter and grandmother, and later with the grandfather, emphasizing the importance of sharing, charity, and family. After the story, words that might be unfamiliar to the reader are explained as well as the origin of the holiday and some of the cultural and religious significances that went along with them, a brief synopsis of the author’s experiences on the subject and an overview of what Ramadan is. It is a good introduction to the topic as well as a beautiful story.