It’s almost Ramadan so trying to get some more Ramadan children’s book reviews out! On a side note, my friend Aisha blogged about supporting such books and suggested giving children copies of Ramadan books for Eid so please read her plea here.
I’ve been wanting to read this story Party in Ramadan for a while ever since one of my co-teachers showed it to me when I was teaching second grade. I remember getting excited just seeing the cover – a book for people like me! This book wasn’t available in my library so I reached out to Boyds Mill Press and I was given a review copy.
Illustrator: Laura Jacobsen, who illustrates emotion warmly!
Summary: It’s Ramadan and Leena decides to fast every Friday because she’s big now. Only problem is she gets invited to a party on a Friday! Her mom tells her she can fast another day, but Leena wants to fast on Friday because her aunt is coming for Iftar that Friday. Leena tells her mom she’ll be fine, starts out having a great time at the party, but gets tired later and realizes that fasting is hard, especially when all her friends around her are digging into chocolate cake and icy cold lemonade! When her mom finally comes to pick her up, Leena has fallen asleep at the party. At iftar time, her friend’s family comes by to drop off some cake for Leena, and Leena’s family invites them in to enjoy their iftar. True Ramadan spirit!
Awards: Parent’s Choice Awards (2009), 2010 Best Children’s Books of the Year- Bank Street College of Education, Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s Annual Best-of-the-Year list 2010. Lots of awards for this special story!
Notes: The story is on the longer side so it wouldn’t be a good read for toddlers, but is better suited for early elementary school aged children. However, it can be easily adapted for littler ones, like 4-year-old-Z.
I love how Asma Mobin-Uddin described Leena’s character and the feeling of fasting when no one else around you is fasting, as well as how Leena felt when her mom told Julia’s mom about Leena fasting. Very relatable for a Muslim child fasting here in the US! The illustrations are pastelly soft and warm and I loved how the characters emotions were illustrated.
In the entryway of Julia’s house, Leena and her mother introduced themselves to Julia’s mother, Mrs. Bernard. Leena’s mother explained that, because Leena was fasting, she would not be eating with the other girls.
“Oh but we’re not having a meal,” Mrs. Bernard said. “We’re just having cake and punch.”
“She can’t eat or drink anything at all during the fast,” said Leena’s mother, “not even water.”
“Not even water?” asked Mrs. Bernard. Her voice seemed very loud to Leena who was embarrassed to think her friends might hear.
On a side note, I also liked Asma Mobin-Uddin’s dedication: “For my children: Yasmine, Hamza, and Yasin. May you always find the strength and courage to live your beautiful faith.”
May we all have that strength! Pictures below!