Celebrating National Reading Month With Children’s Books About Ramadan

Lailas-Lunchbox-Featured-ImageMarch 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. Below is a review of the Ramadan books I’ve shared with my family.

Lailah’s Lunchbox By Reem Faruqi (5 stars)

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.

Ramadan By Hannah Elliot (5 stars)

Ramadan Hannah EliotThis board book does a wonderful job of explaining to small children the why behind Ramadan and fasting. It isn’t a story, but a guide more so, that shares the key traditions of Ramadan: suhoor, iftar, charity, good deeds and also the celebration of Eid. I thought the illustrations were beautiful and showed different types of families (from different countries and time periods). It also showed diverse depictions of Muslim families (interracial, different races, women who don’t cover their hair, etc).

Ramadan Around The World By Ndaa Hassan ( 4 stars)

ramadan around the worldThis book takes the reader around the world to see how Ramadan is celebrated. This book is probably best suited for kids 7+ years old. There is a lot of information to take in and also covers big words such as autism and diabetes. But the story is inclusive and thoughtfully written, sharing traditions from North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

My First Ramadan By Karen Katz (4 stars)

<a href=”http://My First Ramadan (My First Holiday)""“>My First Ramadan - Karen Katz - Islamimommy
This is a great book for teaching children the tenets of Ramadan: concentrating on faith, reading the Quran, prayer, fasting, and diversity of people.

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.

It’s Ramadan Curious George By H.E.Rey and Hena Khan (3.5 stars)

<a href=”http://It’s Ramadan, Curious George""“>ramadan-curious-george-islamimommy
I remember Ramadan 2017 when everyone gifted this book to the children in their lives. Since then it has made its way into many kindergarten classroom presentations.

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. I wish it would address the why, not just the what.

Under the Ramadan Moon By Sylvia Whitman (4 stars)

<a href=”http://Under the Ramadan Moon""“>Under-the-ramadna-moon-islamimommy
My children love a good rhyming book. This is the only book I found that falls into the rhyming Ramadan category.

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.

Fasting and Dates By Jonny Zucker (3 stars)

<a href=”http://Fasting and Dates: A Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr Story (Festival Time)""“>Fasting-dates-islamimommy
I would describe this as a book that states 7 facts about Ramadan plus illustrations. It’s not really a story.

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 Salam,

Natasha Kazi

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