It’s important that all children find themselves and their beliefs reflected in the books they see around them. This blog post is showcasing two books based in the Muslim world.
‘Night of the Moon – a Muslim Holiday Story’ by Hena Khan, illustrated by Julie Paschkis (Chronicle Books)
This beautiful picture book follows the story of seven-year-old Pakistani-American girl, Yasmeen as she celebrates the Muslim holidays of Ramadan and Eid.
Each night, Yasmeen watches for the Moon’s first crescent, signalling the beginning of a new month in the Islamic calendar – the month of Ramadan which is celebrated by Muslim’s all over the world. She and her family begin a month of very special celebrations and helping other people. Yasmeen watches the moon fatten then disappear again, meaning the month of Ramadan’s over and it’s time to celebrate the Night of the Moon and the gift-giving holiday of Eid.
The vibrant illustrations capture the spirit of Islamic art and add a cocooning sense of warmth. The story perfectly captures the sense of family and giving which is central to Eid. It did not go unnoticed that food plays a central role in bringing families and communities together. The descriptions of shared meals were a highlight for me.
A fascinating insight into the modern celebration of ancient traditions. 3+
‘Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets – a Muslim Book of Shapes’ by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini (Chronicle Books)
Set out on a shape treasure hunt in this celebration of the shapes and traditions of the Muslim world.
Readers travel through the town spotting new shapes and learning new vocabulary at every turn. The arch of the mihrab, the circle of the daft. Something interesting’s hiding around every corner.
When reading this with my own children, they had a lot of questions about some of the unusual words we encountered. Handily, there’s a glossary at the back of the book which explains their meanings and helps with pronunciation.
There’s also an author’s note at the end of the story which tells us why Muslim art focusses of shapes and motifs from nature rather than faces. And about the significant contributions to science that Muslim mathematicians and astronomers made, and how this influenced Islamic art.
Another fascinating book with so many different themes to explore. 3+
*Many thanks to Chronicle Books for sending me these titles to review*