Ilyas and Duck Search For Allah children’s book review

This story is creatively written by Omar Khawaja and vibrantly illustrated by Leo Antolini.

The story is about a curious little boy called Ilyas who searches for God’s location. Allah is simply the Arabic name for God so this book is universal for all faiths. The story is a  beautiful, heartwarming story. Z really enjoyed this story. As a parent who is often asked to read the same book over and over, I really enjoyed the illustrations that added a comical touch to the story, especially Duck’s antics.

The Backstory: I got in touch with Omar Khawaja to see his journey to publishing and what I liked about his journey is that he wanted a Muslim children’s book that was appealing and answered his children’s questions, so he went ahead and wrote his story and published it. So many times as authors we can sit and stew on an idea, but what I admire is that he followed his dream through and made it a reality.  You can read about it here. He owns a company called Little Big Kids so for him it made sense to make a product and self-publish it. 

Availability: This book has rave reviews and is available on Amazon here or Little Big Kids and is a heartwarming story. I liked the animals Omar Khawaja chose in this story: the hoopoe was mentioned in the Quran so it was educationally appealing.  As an elementary school teacher, I value stories that have educational aspects to it. As a Sunday School teacher, this story would be a great circle time read. As an aspiring writer, this story was professionally written and beautifully illustrated.

On a side note, when I read this story to Z, I feel the need to add more wording to clarify as I believe Allah is above the 7th heavens as listed here:

Do you feel secure that He, Who is over the heaven (Allah), will not cause the earth to sink with you, then behold it shakes (as in an earthquake)? (Quran 67:16).

But that I know Allah is closer to us than our jugular vein:

“And indeed, We have created man, and we know what (evil) temptation his innermost self may bring to him: And We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein.”  (Quran 50:16).

Favorite Quote:
Ilyas looked through the binoculars but all he could see were a few puffy clouds and a plane flying by.
“You won’t see Allah with those binoculars,” said the Hoopoe sitting on the branch of a tree nearby.
“What do you mean?” asked Ilyas. But the Hoopoe didn’t answer. It just flew away.
 Preschooler Z’s thoughts and Toddler A’s thoughts:
Z loves this story, especially the rocket page where Ilyas blasts off to space to search for Allah! Baby A loves this story even more than Z, and is always grabbing and hugging this story when we read books. She also loves saying Ilyas’s name, and pointing to him, “Ilyaaas!”
I was looking at the upcoming story of Ilyas and Duck’s Fantastic Festival Eid-ul-Fitr on my computer and Z and A saw the cover of Ilyas and Duck and the cake on my screen, and Z started yelling, “Ilyas is baking!” and A started clapping her hands saying, “Ilyaaaas!” so the cool thing about this character Ilyas  is that he’s relatable. It’s refreshing to see children like a Muslim character, not just Dora!
Can’t wait to read even more books about this relatable character Ilyas from this author Omar Khawaja and illustrator Leo Antolini!

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