One Green Apple and more… Muslim Children Book Reviews!

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I’ve been wanting to write a few book reviews about Muslim books so thought I’d write shorter reviews all in one go! I’ve also been putting this off as haven’t taken pictures of the books, but most of them have the Amazon Look Inside! feature so will refer to that instead. All of the books below I got from the Atlanta Fulton Library System. Without further ado…

One Green Apple is a book that makes your heart hurt! I loved reading about a little girl who moves from over seas to America and her experiences there. The narrator’s voice is so honest it hurts. Pair that with these gorgeous water color paintings, and this book is captivating.

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Favorite Quotes: 

I am tight inside myself. Three dogs come and run in front of us. I think they belong here and know the way. I once had a dog called Haddis.

I will blend with the others the way my apple blended with the cider.

I am different, too, in other ways. My jeans and T-shirt look like theirs, but my dupatta covers my head and shoulders. I have not seen anyone else wearing a dupatta, though all the girls and women in my home country do.

What Amazon says about the story:
Farah feels alone, even when surrounded by her classmates. She listens and nods but doesn’t speak. It’s hard being the new kid in school, especially when you’re from another country and don’t know the language. Then, on a field trip to an apple orchard, Farah discovers there are lots of things that sound the same as they did at home, from dogs crunching their food to the ripple of friendly laughter. As she helps the class make apple cider, Farah connects with the other students and begins to feel that she belongs. Ted Lewin’s gorgeous sun-drenched paintings and Eve Bunting’s sensitive text immediately put the reader into another child’s shoes in this timely story of a young Muslim immigrant.

Author: Eve Bunting (also written some other amazing multicultural stories)

Illustrator: Ted Lewin (Gorgeous paintings!)

Book Info:

  • Age Range: 4 – 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – 3
  • Lexile Measure: 450L (What’s this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Clarion Books; First Printing edition (June 12, 2006)

Z’s thoughts: Z loved this story ~ she loved the pictures and the apple picking part.

 

 


Zaki’s Ramadhan Fast

A
mazon Summary:  This story glances at a day in the life of a little Muslim boy who is fasting for the first time. Though he is still not required to fast everyday for the month of Ramadan, his family gives him their support to achieve his goal of fasting one day. Even with that support, Zaki quickly learns that it takes effort. A great book to introduce children to fasting and setting goals. Grades K-3.

Z’s Thoughts: Z liked the  page where Zaki accidentally broke his fast (he forgot he was fasting!) and started to cry. She felt sad seeing Zaki cry.

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My Thoughts: I liked the simplicity of this story and how Zaki’s family went out of their way to make Zaki feel special for fasting. A good read for a child fasting for their first time!

Author and Illustrator Info: by Ann P. El-Moslimany  (Author) , Erica L. Butler (Illustrator)

Favorite Quote:

When Sara called him a baby for wanting her to push him on the swing, he answered, ” I’m fasting.” After that Sara pushed him for ten whole minutes without stopping. 

Book Info:

  • Hardcover: 27 pages
  • Publisher: Amica Pub House (October 1994)
  • Language: English

 

Max Celebrates Ramadan


Amazon Summary: Omar invites Max to his house for the end of Ramadan. Family, food, and fun are all part of the special day.
 Author & Illustrator Info: by Adria F Worsham  (Author) , Mernie Elizabeth Gallagher-Cole (Illustrator)

This story is an Easy Reader story so is very basic. I would have wanted more of a conflict in the plot, but I understand that since it is supposed to be an Easy Reader, the words are simple, the story is basic, and the point of it is so that the child can read the story. My husband noticed that every single page the characters are smiling!

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My First Ramadan by by Karen Katz

 

Amazon Summary: 

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.

Book Info: 

  • Age Range: 2 – 5 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool – Kindergarten
  • Lexile Measure: 700L (What’s this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages

Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); First Edition edition (August 7, 2007)

My thoughts: Karen Katz’s board books are popular with toddlers, so I thought this was a nice basic picture book for preschoolers. A good informative story. Not a story with a conflict in the plot or story per se, but more just to teach a child what goes on in Ramadan, or what to expect.

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Favorite Quote:

I see Muslims from Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia, North America, and South America.

(I loved that it showed Muslims are a variety of nationalities and colors!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad is another heart-touching story. I especially loved the narrator’s honest voice. This is a book that you read and think Wow! Every word is precise and you can tell the author knows how to write for children.

Written and Illustrated by James Rumford .

 Favorite Quotes:

I love playing soccer in the dustry street with my friends. I love loud, parent-rattling music. And I love dancing.

It’s funny how easily my pen glides down the long, sweeping hooks of the word HARB – war … how stubbornly it resists me when I make the difficult waves and slanted staff of SALAM – peace …

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This story is a beautiful story about a little boy called Ali who lives in Baghdad and how he finds peace in calligraphy. I know my grandmother Nana would love it as she loves and practices calligraphy.

Amazon Summary:

When bombs begin to fall, Ali drowns out the sound of war with a pen. Like other children living in Baghdad, Ali loves soccer, music and dancing, but most of all, he loves the ancient art of calligraphy. When bombs begin to fall on his city, Ali turns to his pen, writing sweeping and gliding words to the silent music that drowns out the war all around him. Gorgeously illustrated with collage, pencil and charcoal drawings and, of course, exquisite calligraphy, this timely and yet universal story celebrates art and history but also offers young children a way to understand all they see and hear on the news.

Awards: Silent Music is a 2009 Bank Street – Best Children’s Book of the Year.

 

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust

I initially thought this story would be written for younger children, but this story had a lot of text and was written for older children.
Author & Illustrator:by Karen Gray Ruelle  (Author) , Deborah Durland Desaix (Author)
Amazon Summary:When the Nazis occupied Paris, no Jew was safe from arrest and deportation. Few Parisians were willing to risk their own lives to help. Yet during that perilous time, many Jews found refuge in an unlikely place–the sprawling complex of the Grand Mosque of Paris. Not just a place of worship but a community center, this hive of activity was an ideal temporary hiding place for escaped prisoners of war and Jews of all ages, especially children. Beautifully illustrated and thoroughly researched.My thoughts: Impressive story. Loved the theme of how Muslims helped Jews during the Holocaust! Think this is an unknown story. It is pretty wordy and lengthy and detailed so I think better suited for an older audience, say 5th grade?

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Book Info:
  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Holiday House; Reprint edition (July 2010)
  • Language: English

Booklist Review:

The book begins with a quote found in Islamic and Jewish traditions: “Save one life, and it is as if you’ve saved all of humanity.” Today’s problems between these two Abrahamic religions are obvious, but there are moments of brotherhood. During the Nazi occupation of France, Jews were being rounded up and sent to concentration camps. One avenue of refuge was the Grand Mosque in Paris, where Jewish adults and children hid, some briefly until they could be spirited away, others for longer stays. Thanks to the mosque’s rector, and particularly Berbers from Algeria, many lives were saved. This is a fascinating, little-known piece of history (the afterword explains how difficult it was to research). The authors sometimes try too hard to explain too much to a middle-grade audience, but they effectively capture the desperation felt by the victims and the enormous effort made by the resistance. The evocative paintings in somber colors heighten the tension, but some, like the one of a Jewish girl in front of an intricately designed mosque wall, capture the hope. Grades 3-6. –Ilene Cooper –This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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