“To produce a mighty book, you must choose a mighty theme.”– Herman Melville

Yes, a few years ago we had all varieties of books. I’d gone to bookshops and as usual got lost in thousands of books. But I hardly found any book that would discuss about a person like me or a festival that I celebrate or any subject matter that I could relate to. I’d read books of various religious festivals and thought ‘Wow! How exciting it is.’ I’d found it difficult to explain even the basic principles of my faith to my non-Muslim friends. Why hadn’t they known about us? Why was it so surprising for them to see us wear a hijab, offer salah or observe fasting?

Because, everything about us wasn’t familiar. They hardly knew anything about us. One reason I found was that those who really knew about the religion were keeping themselves away from the society. They preferred their own little company. And the other reason was that those who was mingling with non-Muslims knew little or nothing about the religion. So that they knew not how to present the religion in a positive light. I was in the latter group. I did know a little and I did not know what I was doing in first place. I offered prayers but had not known why. Dressed in a modest way but did not know the exact reason why I should be dressing in such manner. It doesn’t mean that nobody guided me. But what I’m talking is that realization and reflection. That has to happen within yourself and I was only walking behind the path of ancestors’ without any inspiration. And then lately being a writer I began to discover myself. Representing myself in books helped me get to know more about my religion, all praise to the God. So I’d happily confess that the writer in me helps me be better every day.

My entrance to Muslim themed books run back to 2006 from my first published book Poodhinna Idadhenna (Sinhala) which discusses about abortion, domestic violence and indirectly discusses about the Creator. But when I became a mother I’d search for books that can make my task easy in introducing themes in Islam. Thanks to awesome writers around the world who had taken that brave step in breaking stereotypes and producing Islamic themed books. Being a writer I know the struggle they’d gone through in making these fabulous books available for you to purchase. All praise to Allah, today we have number of books to choose.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Being a pioneer in Muslim themed books in Sri Lanka I’d introduced a Ramadan themed book to my readers in 2017. And I’d like to introduce more books in the same theme but covers the topic from various angles by different authors from different backgrounds from all over the world. So here’s a book list that you can go through and choose to introduce to your child in coming Ramadan, God willing.

 

 

  1. Noor Kids’ First Time Fasting

This book is from all famous Noor Kids and these are the fabulous people behind the book.

Research: Armaan Siddiqi

Creative Developers: Elizabeth Lymer

Art Direction: Annie Idris

Editors: Sana Aaser & Amin Aaser

First Time Fasting has two stories in the book. One discusses about self-control and the other discusses about gratitude.

Fasting creates a thirst that could be quenched if an individual gives into his or her desire to eat. But, by waiting until sunset, he or she builds a capacity for self-control. Such self-control empowers individuals to think twice about actions, allowing them to resist lowly base desires. The Holy Qur’ān establishes this idea, mentioning that fasting has been prescribed so that we may “learn self-control” (2:183). In the first story, “Amin’s Half-day Fasts,” Amin learns that fasting (even if just for half a day) can help him develop self-control. He uses this self-control to get rid of his anger problem.

In addition to self-control, the Holy Qur’ān indicates that fasting creates a spirit of gratitude (2:185). When our tongue is dry and lips are parched, we feel the pangs of hunger in our being. But, by the grace of Allah (SWT), most of us have the means to break our fast, tasting the sweetness of water at sunset. However, the hunger that is felt during the day inspires one to imagine the challenges that others who are less fortunate must endure. In doing so, it creates a spirit of appreciation and thankfulness for our blessings.  In the second story, “Too Little Thanks,” Shireen begins to appreciate her blessings only after they are taken away. Because of this gratitude, she develops a spirit of giving to those who are in need.

 

Sounds interesting, eh? Please visit Noor Kids for more details about this amazing book and many more Islamic themed books, inshaAllah.

 

Age: 4-6

 

 

  1. Ramadan without Daddy: Khadija’s Story of Love, Courage and Hope- By Misbah Akthar

Publishers: Djarabi Kithabs

The concept of Divorce is very challenging for young children. This book is based around a Muslim family and the story of young Khadija helping her mother and brother. The story gives many opportunities for positive discussion for parents and educators wanting to explore this difficult concept with balanced sensitivity from an Islamic perspective.

I found this book very valuable because it touches a very sensitive subject that’s very hard to discuss with children. When it comes to a family for them it’s always with a mum and a dad. But they become confused when they see or meet children from broken families. The concept is difficult to digest yet we have to face reality. Nobody likes to end up with a broken family but sometimes life doesn’t give what we want but gives that would be best for us. Sometimes it could be by taking away someone we love the most.

Age: 3-9

 

 

  1. Ramadan Rhymes– By Elizebeth Lymer

Ramadan Rhymes includes several songs about fasting to encourage young children to look forward to being old enough to fast, as well as rhymes about sighting the new moon, reading the Qur’an, praising Allah SWT, asking for forgiveness, and celebrating ‘Eid. It loosely follows the Ramadan journey of three children who are fasting for the first time – Noor, Hicham, and Ali. Young Muslims can learn about fasting in a fun way and can discover ways they can participate in worship of Allah SWT during the blessed month – for example, by feeding someone, praying, and being good. The nursery rhymes colouring book can be used with the free videos on YouTube (‘Elizabeth Lymer’ channel) meaning young children can be happily immersed in Ramadan through rhymes and colouring while their parents are reading the Qur’an and fasting.

 

Elizebeth Lymer is one of my favourite authors and her books are read at home numerous times. I find solace in reading her poetically worded children’s books. So this one is a book never to be missed, inshaAllah. Please do visit here to place your orders.

Age: 3-5

 

  1. Muslim Rhymes and Lullabies– By Elizabeth Lymer

 

This book includes Ramadan but is not exclusively about Ramadan but it doesn’t matter. It’s from one of the best authors so it’d be a keepsake for sure, inshaAllah.

This hardback treasury of twenty-five Islamic nursery rhymes and lullabies is for nurseries, kindergartens, toddler groups, libraries, and families, as a sturdy book of engaging songs to introduce Islam and Muslim practices to children in their early years.

Included are fun rhymes about the five pillars of Islam (announcing the testimony of faith, maintaining salat, fasting in Ramadan, paying zakat, and performing Hajj), about Allah, spreading peace, doing good deeds, family, mosque, al-Qur’an, and Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

Also provided are soothing lullabies to teach a sunnah bedtime routine, encourage prayer, and reassure children of the protection of Allah during His gift of restful sleep.

The rich vocabulary used in many poems invites children to engage in dialogic reading with adults to discover their meanings (and there is a glossary of Arabic words provided and a brief description of the five pillars of Islam, at the end of the book). There are plenty of long rhymes so that young pre-readers can focus upon a single verse and expand the content they engage with as they develop. Many of the songs use repetition to encourage memorization. Rhymes such as With Bismillah we’re Handy and Wash Yourself naturally incline readers to create their own extra verses.

In groups or pairs, children can devise actions for rhymes such as Allah Made Us From Head To Toes, The Muslims Round The World, and Round The Ka’bah, Walk. They can also choreograph playful exercises to accompany Love To Love Allah Most, Five Prayers Each Day, Peace Greetings Must Be Spread, A Narrow Mosque, and Sail Your Seas. The lullabies in the book are well-suited to calming coloring sessions, as well as for transitions into naptimes and bedtimes.

All of the rhymes are written to the tune or rhythm of traditional nursery rhymes, for example Excellent Allah follows the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. (Please be aware that rhymes such as Incy Wincy Spider can be sung in different ways.) Likewise, the six lullabies follow melodies of traditional rhymes and lullabies, for instance Allah’s Nigh, Night Time’s Nigh can be sung to the tune of Lullaby And Goodnight.

Many of the rhymes are collected from published paperbacks: Islamic Nursery Rhymes, Muslim Lullabies, Ramadan Rhymes Coloring Book, Hajj Harmonies Coloring Book, Five Prayers Each Day, and First Rhymes and Lullabies for Muslims – the latter two titles are now out of print. The beautiful and faceless illustrations are by Fatimah De Vaux Davies.

To purchase visit here

Age: 3-5

 

 

  1. Gratitude is an Attitude– A gratitude journal by Ayeina

 

With bad people always on the newspaper and bad news always on the news channel, it’s hard to always look at the brighter side of things. We tend to discuss negatives way more than we talk about the positives instead of finding a solution to turn the negatives into positives.

Contrary to that, we get to see endless forms of blessings poured upon people around us (in real life, on social media…) – Everyone is extremely happy – they’re going to different countries for vacations, they have a supportive family and awesome friends, they have all the money in the world, their businesses are a success and most of all, they look so amazing. Everything must be perfect in their life huh? Why is my life so depressing then? You ask!

You see, the grass is not only always greener on the other side but it also seems fresher because of dew and the glistening sun. You know those with the greener grass think of your blessings? They think that you have it all and they don’t – Too blinded by their own sunlight!

This Gratitude Journal is from all famous and inspiring Ayeina sisters. This journal will help children count their blessings and they can go on a gratitude journey for a month and come out of Ramadan with more positivity in-Sha-Allah. What better way to teach your young children to count their blessings and thank Allah SWT other than a colorful gratitude journal like this?

Age: 5 and above

 

  1. Curious George– By Hena Khan

 

It’s the first day of Ramadan, and George is celebrating with his friend Kareem and his family. George helps Kareem with his first fast and joins in the evening celebration of tasting treats and enjoying a special meal. Then, George helps make gift baskets to donate to the needy, and watches for the crescent moon with the man in the yellow hat. Finally George joins in the Eid festivities to mark the end of his very first Ramadan.

This playful tabbed board book, with a foil-stamped cover, makes a great holiday gift for all fans of Curious George—those who celebrate Ramadan, and those who are learning about it for the first time!

 

Like many other children who grew up reading and watching about the little monkey who is way too smart and curious my children are fan of him too. So I don’t have to say how much my children loved this book.

To purchase you can visit  here

Age: 3-4

 

  1. Under the Ramadan Moon– By Sylvia Whiteman

“We wait for the moon. We watch for the moon. We watch for the Ramadan moon.” With lyrical text and luminous pastel illustrations, Under the Ramadan Moon warmly depicts a Muslim family as they pray, fast and help those in need. Includes a detailed note about Ramadan.

This simple picture book celebrates the coming of Ramadan and shows a family’s activities taking place “under the moon, under the moon, under the Ramadan moon.”

Age: 4-7

 

  1. Once Upon a Ramadan– By D.N. Hockey

 

 

Three siblings experience Ramadan together with their stuffed animals. When they bake cookies, Monkey, Puppy, and Fox get messy and need a bath. When they collect presents for children in need, Puppy falls asleep in the bag. In the end their mother is very proud of them: “Ramadan is about thinking of others and that is exactly what they did.” With bright illustrations and a playful story line, Once Upon a Ramadan appeals to children everywhere.

This  looks like a charming book that teaches children about the traditions of Ramadan in a fun and engaging way.

Age: 3-5

 

  1. Ilyas & the Duck– There is an Eid for every nation- By Omar Khawaja

“There is an Eid for every nation”. The book starts with this saying of the Prophet Muhammad, and thus dedicates some pages to two traditions of other major religions: Christmas and Hanukkah. Ilyas and Duck are preparing for Eid-al-Fitr to celebrate the end of Ramadan. Duck starts out by bringing a christmas tree and a menorah but Ilyas explains to him that those are for their Christian and Jewish friends’ celebrations. Ilyas & Duck: Fantastic Festival of Eid-al-Fitr is a delightful picture book about the fun and excitement of Eid

This book sounds promising. A book that deserves a place in every child’s bookshelf.

Age: 3-5

 

  1. Lailah’s Lunch Box-By Reem Faruqi

 

Lailah’s family recently moved to the US from Abu Dhabi. When Ramadan begins, she is excited to participate in the fasting for the first time but worried that her classmates won’t understand why she won’t be eating lunch with them. With help from the school librarian and her teacher, Lailah finds a way to overcome her fears and makes new friends who respect her beliefs. Beautifully illustrated with full-page watercolor pictures, Lailah’s Lunch Box is a gentle story about feeling different, friendship and faith.

This is a lovely book. Ever since I’d set my eyes upon it I wanted little space in my shelf reserved for this book.

Age: 5-8

11. My First Ramadan– By Karen Katz

“Look! There is the new moon in the sky.

It’s time for Ramadan to begin. Follow along with one young boy as he observes the Muslim holy month with his family.

This year, the narrator is finally old enough to fast, and readers of all ages will be interested as he shares his experiences of this special holiday.

It would be a wonderful book to introduce Ramadan to very little children. You can purchase the book here

Age: 2-5

 

12. Ramadan Moon– By Naima B Roberts

Ramadan, the month of fasting, doesn’t begin all at once. It begins with a whisper And a prayer And a wish. Muslims all over the world celebrate Ramadan and the joyful days of Eid-ul-Fitr at the end of the month of fasting as the most special time of year. This lyrical and inspiring picture book captures the wonder and joy of this great annual event, from the perspective of a child. Accompanied by Iranian inspired illustrations, the story follows the waxing of the moon from the first new crescent to full moon and waning until Eid is heralded by the first sighting of the second new moon. Written and illustrated by Muslims, this is a book for all children who celebrate Ramadan and those in the wider communities who want to understand why this is such a special experience for Muslims.

Naima Roberts is one of my inspirations to step into English fiction and she keeps inspiring me being a single mother, writer and an entrepreneur.

You can purchase this book from Amazon

Age: 5-8

 

So, are your kids fasting? At what age did you encourage your children to fast? Children are excluded from obligations of fasting but however our kids like to follow what we do. And they can be stubborn as they can when they want to prove that they are capable of doing what we can do. Alhamdulillah, even my three year old daughter joined with us last year and I love their enthusiasm in taking part in rituals.

It’s not easy for a child to fast, especially when everything around you is tempting. My youngest is a fan of the fridge so I don’t have to go on telling how tempting it could be for first time fasting children.

Besides those colorful decorations, Ramadan lanterns, Eid gifts, beautiful henna patterns do children fast without a fuss? Presenting the reality through a child’s point of view is not an easy task. We all love to share moral stories and convince children to believe that fasting isn’t a challenge. But how well do they grasp the stories we tell? Won’t they feel disappointed about themselves to know that everyone out there is enjoying fasting but not them?

So here’s a book that tells a story of a person they all can relate with.

“I’m fasting this Ramadan!”

Illustrations of I’m Fasting This Ramadan will inspire the young reader because it’s done by a twelve year old (now fourteen) artist, mashaAllah. And there’s a little note about Ramadan and why we, Muslims celebrate it where you can read to your kids about the importance of Ramadan. Muslim readers do expect a little bit of information in books, just the story isn’t enough for them. And that would help non-Muslim readers to understand more about Ramadan.

 

“Little Sakeena is excited. Fasting for the first time in Ramadan is a huge thing for a little girl.

However, juicy dates, strawberry lollipops, spicy rolls, a bowl of delicious porridge and of course her favourite Faluda milkshake are all making her hungry. Besides, her Goldfish isn’t fasting. Checking the time doesn’t help either. Will Sakeena be able to complete that first fast or will the flaky tuna samosa win her over?”

Yes, it’s my first picture book, all praise to Allah. You can contact us for more details about purchasing this book.

Age: 5-7

 

These are my favourite reads about Ramadan and books that I’m interested in adding to my bookshelf in future, in-sha-Allah. What’s yours? Please share your thoughts and recommend more books so that we can look into.

If you have read books mentioned in the list please visit the links and place your reviews. Share your experiences, tell us what we can do to improve more. You don’t have to write lengthy reviews (We writers love to read a lot 😉 ) but even a small sentence that says ‘I liked it’ would help us reach many readers and produce more books, inshaAllah.

 

 

2 Comments
  • Honoured to see #AlhamdulillahForSeries gratitude journal a part of this list ❤ jazakillah khairan katheera habibti.

    Reply
    January 15, 2018 at 8:00 pm
    Posted by AYEINA

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