Author Read Alouds – Ramadan Connect 2023

The Purpose of Ramadan Connect:

The goal of ISLA’s Ramadan Connect is to allow Muslim students to appreciate both the similarities that bind all Muslims together and the unique differences that result from our cultural diversity. In addition, we hope to inspire children to engage in beneficial action that strengthens the ummah.

Author Read Alouds – Ramadan Connect 2023

Ramadan Connect is a program that happens every year. One of the things they do that is really popular is called the Author Read Aloud Sessions. This is when famous Muslim writers who write books for kids come and read their books out loud. Children from all around the world can listen to the stories being read. After the reading, the children can ask the authors questions. This helps the children understand the stories better. The event is a great chance for kids to talk to really good authors and learn more about making books for kids from a Muslim point of view. Everyone involved has a great time and it is a special way to celebrate Ramadan.

Week 1: Helping Others

  • Asmaa Hussein: Who Will Help Me Make Iftar?

    Asmaa Hussein, Director of Awesomeness at Ruqaya’s Bookshelf, publishes engaging Islamic children’s books that feature Muslim characters, contributing to a child’s character education and representation in storybooks. Her work is motivated by her daughter, Ruqaya, as she aims to lead by example with dedication and excellence.


  • Ayanna Abdul-Mateen: Do You Know the Ramadan Moon?

    Ayanna Abdul-Mateen is a lifelong learner, educator, sky-gazer, and lover of nature. Whether taking long walks outdoors or wading in bodies of water, she is most at peace when observing and connecting with nature. A proud graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU), Ayanna is a university lecturer and educational consultant. She lives with her family in Dallas, Texas.

    Do You Know the Ramadan Moon? is her first children’s book publication. It is inspired by years of homeschooling her young explorers and engaging their natural curiosity of the night sky.


Week 2: Making Dua

  • Omar Khawaja: Ramadan Joy!

    Omar is an accomplished Muslim American children’s book author, born in the Middle East with roots in Pakistan. He spent his childhood in New York and currently resides in Washington D.C with his wife, three kids, and a house full of happy chaos.

    Omar is the creative genius behind the beloved Ilyas & Duck series, featuring two lovable cartoon characters that inspire young Muslim children to explore and celebrate their faith. The idea for his first book, Ilyas & Duck Search for Allah, was born during a bedtime story session with his own children, where they asked the most profound question of all – “Where is Allah?” Frustrated by the lack of resources available for Muslim children’s literature, Omar set out to write his own, sparking a successful career as an author and a storyteller for young Muslim readers everywhere.


  • Anse Rukayat Yakub: The Gift of Shaykh Ahmadu Bamba

    Anse Rukayat Yakub is a researcher and author. In 2017 she established Light Legacy Books, a children’s publishing house dedicated to telling the stories of little-known heroes from across the globe.

    She currently resides in New Jersey, USA and is a member of the advisory board for United We Create, a project that seeks to educate the community about Islamic cultures through the arts. She also volunteers with La Convivencia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to peace, social justice and community service.


Week 3: Generosity

  • Fawzia Gilani-Williams: Zinjabeel: A Ramadan Story

    Fawzia Gilani is an internationally experienced educator, author, and cluster librarian based in the Middle East. As an elementary school teacher, she noticed a lack of representation for minority groups in children’s books, which inspired her to write mirror and window books promoting intercultural literacy, emotional and social flourishing, and kindness. Gilani’s works include an Islamic fairy tale series and Yaffa and Fatima Shalom Salaam.

  • Arifa Afzal: Barakah Bites

    Arifa Afzal, the author of “Barakah Bites,” is a New Zealand-based mother of four who studied and worked in engineering before becoming a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling her children. She has taught Islamic classes as well. Along with her kids, she enjoys reading and writing, with a particular passion for rhyming stories and poems. Her upcoming book, “Barakah Bites,” is filled with rhymes and is set to be published soon.

  • Reem Faruqi: Lailah’s Lunchbox

    Reem Faruqi is an award-winning author who enjoys writing lyrical stories that reflect her own experiences. When Reem Faruqi taught second grade, her favorite time was “Read Aloud” time. Now, her favorite time at home is reading with her daughters. Reem Faruqi is the award-winning author of “Lailah’s Lunchbox,” a picture book based on her own experiences as a young Muslim girl immigrating to the United States.

Week 4: Gratefulness

  • Heba Subeh-Hyder: Does Allah Know I’m Sad?

    Heba is a Palestinian American Muslim who has a passion for learning and teaching about Islam. She currently lives in Southern California with her husband and three daughters. Heba holds a degree in business management, but her love for Islam motivated her to pursue a degree in Islamic studies. Heba is also the author of the book series Maymunah’s Musings, which helps children learn about Allah through the journey of a Muslim girl named Maymunah. Despite facing challenges with MS, Heba remains inspiring and committed to sharing her story and knowledge with others.

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