Please welcome Isra from Muslims in KidLit! I met Isra years ago when I first started blogging when she was still living in the Boston area. She had a lifestyle blog then called The Frugalette. We spend hours on a bus ride from hell sponsored by McDonald’s to go to a blogging convention in New York City. Our bus made a detour to McDonald’s for us to sample some of their newest creations. But our journey took longer than it should have when the bus driver took a wrong turn. Between the six-hour ride and the bumpy bus, we all got nauseous. Or could it have been the McDonald’s? Who knows?!
The only bright side to this trip was sitting next to the lovely and graceful Isra and getting to know her. Now, she’s blogging on Muslims portrayed in children’s literature, and it’s something that I think is needed and appreciated. Today, Isra is sharing her favorite children’s books on Ramadan, along with some fun facts about this important holiday.
p.s. Here’s another great one from a dear friend of mine:
Zahra and her mother observe Ramadan by not just observing the traditions of fasting, the Iftar meal, praying, and studying the Quran but also by helping others in need. When they visit a local shelter, Zahra meets a young girl who has been displaced from her country. When Zahra’s beloved teddy bear goes missing, she deeply understands loss. The story has an unexpected ending that underscores the Muslim faith to help those in need. This is an important story to truly understand the Muslim faith and realize that love for humanity underscores the Ramadan holiday. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Hello! My name is Isra, I blog at Muslims in KidLit, a site dedicated to promoting and celebrating books with Muslim characters or written by Muslim authors. Mia has been gracious to let me share with you the most blessed month that is coming up for Muslims and my favorite books that all kids will enjoy!
10 Facts About Ramadan:
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic lunar calendar.
Muslims base the new month on the new moon, which is why so many books mention the moon.
Ramadan is the month the Quran was first revealed from Allah to Prophet Muhammad.
Ramadan this year will begin the evening of April 23, and the first fast is April 24.
Healthy Muslims will fast from food and drink from before sunrise to sunset.
Ramadan is a month full of charity, prayer, self reflection, supplication and reading Quran.
Muslims focus on improving themselves in this month by controlling their anger, gossip and limiting their time watching TV or being on social media.
The Quran is divided up into 30 parts of varying lengths, and Muslims try to read one part a day in order to finish the Quran during Ramadan.
Special evening prayers called tarawih, only takes place during Ramadan.
After Ramadan is finished, there is a three day celebration called Eid al-Fitr.
Ramadan Children’s Books from Muslims in KidLit
The following are great Ramadan books to learn more about this special month. Have more questions about Ramadan or Islam, feel free to ask in the comments!
It’s Ramadan, Curious George by Hena Khan
This durable tabbed board book is a classic in Ramadan. We find George helping his friend Kareem who is fasting for the first time. What’s special about this book is that a childhood favorite, Curious George was brought in to share and celebrate this special time and has a Muslim friend. Muslim kids are always so excited to see their favorite characters “know” their faith. The man with the yellow hat even shows up to help watch for the new moon! [interactive board book, ages 1 and up]
Owl and Cat Ramadan by Emma Apple
In this sweet picture book, Owl, Cat, friends and family celebrate the 30 days of Ramadan. What makes this book special is that it focuses on the other aspects of Ramadan, not just fasting, and Owl and Cat learn about patience, prayer, kindness and other traditions. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Mustafa and Arwa go on a Ramadan Adventure by Mekram Mohammad
All kids love a good adventure, and this one takes place in Ramadan. The lyrical prose, simple language and cute characters make for a good first reader. It’s a good learning book for basics of what Muslims believe and why Ramadan and fasting is so important. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan
This is probably the most exquisitely illustrated book! The story, about Yasmin, a Pakistani-American girl who celebrates the last night of Ramadan and preparing for the Eid festival the next day by putting henna on her hands and buying bangles. The book is filled with blue and green Islamic mosaic art. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
Who Will Help Me Make Iftar? By Asmaa Hussein
The food Muslims eat when they break their fast is called Iftar. It is a special time and usually shared with friends and family. In this story for kids and even teens, we find Mustafa Amca looking for people to help me prepare the first Iftar of Ramadan, after his wife of 40 years falls sick. It’s a story about caring for elders and neighbours and the true spirit of Ramadan. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lumbard
Sophia is fasting for the first time. She is having so much fun baking cookies with her mom, she forgets she is fasting and eats a cookie. She’s worried she ruined her fast and Ramadan and doesn’t know if she can enjoy all the festivities and fun now. Beautiful watercolour illustrations and the excitement of Sophia is palpable and very true to the spirit of how Muslim kids feel when they try to fast for the first time. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Lailah’s Lunchbox by Reem Faruqi
Lailah has just moved from Abu Dhabi to the US and besides missing her friends at school, she is missing them especially now because it is Ramadan and she will fast for the first time. She is scared what her classmates will think of her and so she takes her lunch to school still in order to fit in, but doesn’t eat from it. When she decides to go to the library during lunch, she finds a friend in the librarian who helps her find a way to share her fasting and Ramadan with her class. [picture book, ages 5 and up]
A Party in Ramadan by Laura Jacobsen and Asthma Mobin-Udin
This is the first year Leena will be able to fast, she is so excited for this time and cannot wait. But because she is too young to fast the whole month, she wants to try to fast just on Fridays. But, when she gets an invitation to a party on Friday, she worries about the cake and lemonade that all her friends will be having. Will she eat and drink also? [picture book, ages 7 and up]
My Grandma and Me by Mina Javaherbin
A sweet tale about a girl and her Iranian grandmother. Along with a story of a girl going along with her grandmother to visit neighbors, shops and the mosque, there is a beautiful inter-religious friendship weaved into the story. It makes for what Muslims believe, Ramadan is not just about celebrating with only Muslims but about sharing with our community and neighbors. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Under the Ramadan Moon by Na’ima B. Robert
This lyrical book brings the wonder and excitement of the moon as it signals the start of Ramadan. From the thin crescent to full again and the celebration of Eid. A good book to gift a classroom that is learning about other religions and cultures. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.