March is a big month for literacy. We have Dr. Seuss’s Bday on March 2 and it’s National Reading Awareness Month.
Between the ages of 5 and 12, my favorite Saturday ritual was going to our local library with my father. Regardless of wealth or ability, in books, I could go anywhere and do anything. I know I sound like Lavar Burton, but that’s what books were for me. One of my favorite childhood memories was reading Anne Of Green Gables, in a peaceful nook.
So for March, I decided to scour my local library for children’s books about Islam. I found that most library books about Islam are about Ramadan.
My hands-down favorite book was Lailah’s Lunchbox. The story centers around a little girl, Lailah, who moved from Abu Dhabi to Atlanta. She was finally old enough to fast during Ramadan but felt huge anxiety about explaining it to her classmates and teachers. It started off slow, but once we got to the gripping conclusion, I was a mess of bubbling tears. My son, Kian kept asking me why I was sad, and I had to reassure him I was happy. This is an essential book for little Muslim girls and boys over the age of 5. It not only explains the purpose of Ramadan but the real-life emotions that many little children in the U.S.A feel during this time.
The illustrations are vibrant and inviting. Though there was one inaccuracy that shows suhoor ending at sunrise, instead of dawn.
The characters seem to be set in the Middle East or a majority Muslim nation.
This book teaches children the cultural elements of Ramadan, the big feasts, distracting yourself when fasting, but it doesn’t go in-depth into the religious elements of Ramadan, such as reading the Quran.
It was watered down for Western mindsets.
It accurately covers all of the tenets of Ramadan: fasting, reading the Quran, praying, and giving to charity.
I personally liked that it showed Muslim women with their hair covered and uncovered. Its important for my sons to know that both are permitted in Islam.
It is the only book that mentions the Night Of Power, so a good introductory book about the basic of Ramadan.
The characters belong to a traditional Muslim family. As you can see, I’m not super moved by this book.
I’m always on the hunt for progressive children’s books about Islam. So if you have suggestions, I would love to hear them!
Peace and Love,