Tag Archives: good book for Muslim children

King for a Day: Children’s Book Review

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Amazon Summary:

Basant is here, with feasts and parties to celebrate the arrival of spring. But what Malik is looking forward to most is doing battle from his rooftop with Falcon, the special kite he has built for speed. Today is Malik’s chance to be the best kite fighter, the king of Basant. In two fierce battles, Malik takes down the kites flown by the bully next door. Then Malik moves on, guiding Falcon into leaps, swirls, and dives, slashing strings and plucking kites from the sky. By the end of the day, Malik has a big pile of captured kites. He is the king! But then the bully reappears, trying to take a kite from a girl in the alley below. With a sudden act of kingly generosity, Malik finds the perfect way to help the girl. This lively, contemporary story introduces readers to a centuries-old festival and the traditional sport of kite fighting, and to a spirited, determined young boy who masters the sport while finding his own way to face and overcome life’s challenges.

  • Age Range: 6 – 10 years
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1600606598
  • ISBN-13: 978-1600606595

My thoughts: Rukhsana Khan, an award winning author, has written some beautiful books and each story she writes has a distinct voice and unique characters. This story is no different! I requested this review copy from Lee&Low, which is known for publishing some beautiful multicultural books. The illustrations/artwork in this story are phenomenal and I really could see bits of Pakistan in this book, from the dusty alley to the the thatched roofs, to the colorful kites, and billowy shalvar kameezes.

I enjoyed the plot of this story and how Malik is known that day for his great kite-flying skills, but I really enjoyed his sudden act of kindness at the end of the story.

I could relate to this story since I’ve always loved flying kites as a child. My father would take us right outside our house where stood a parking lot and there’s nothing like seeing a regular sized kite become a tiny dancing diamond high, high in the sky. My father also enjoys making kites like Malik in this story.

A unique part of this story that I didn’t stumble upon till the middle is that Malik is in a wheel chair. The story doesn’t mention it – simply portrays it in illustrations. It’s easy to miss, but I believe it makes the story even more powerful.

Z’s thoughts:

She loved the kites and pointing at each one. In this story, they are a work of art! We’ve already read this story a few times!

Favorite Quote:

Suddenly I hear yelling from below. The bully pushes a young girl to the ground. Then he grabs her kite and runs into his house. The girl gets to her feet. Sobbing, she heads down the alley trailing the kite string behind her. Something makes me pick up Goliath and drop it over the side of the roof. It floats, slicing the air side to side, to land close beside her.

The quote above is just a small sample of Rukshana Khan’s crisp writing. Each word is so precise and kid-friendly, and really spins a beautiful tale.

 

Above 2 images obtained from here.

Ilustrations pasted from illustrater Kromer’s site here, and she talks about her art process there as well! And the illustrator being interviewed by the author here – something I found really interesting!

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The Jinni on the Roof: Children’s Book Review

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Amazon Summary: Eight-year-old Raza is too young to fast, but he longs for the delicious parathas the grown-ups eat before dawn. The aroma of the flaky, golden bread tempts him. He cannot wait for the children’s breakfast, but he’ll get into trouble if anyone finds him up this early. Lying in bed, Raza hatches a plan. Will he get away with it? This is a delightful tale about a mischievous boy who learns the true meaning of Ramadan – patience and empathy. Age range 4 -8 years. Link to amazon here!

Story by Natasha Rafi  (Author), Abdul Malik Channa (Illustrator)

My thoughts: I saw this tale advertised on Facebook and wanted to read it! I reached out to author Natasha Rafi and she sent me one over. It’s a heartwarming tale of a child who loves parathas! Most children do love parathas so it’s relatable! I also liked that this story was paperback. A lot of children’s books are hardback, but it ‘s nice to have a good quality paperback. I like paperbacks for traveling purposes so I would pack this with a Noor Kids comic book for Z if we were to travel soon! Also the benefit of paperbacks are that they aren’t as expensive as hardcovers so it’s a great book to add to a child’s Ramadan collection or give as an Eid gift, #RamadanReads!

The story is set in Lahore – I’m from Karachi, so the descriptions of the cook and sehri hit home for me. Rafi included a glossary at the end of the book which is helpful for non-Pakistani people. There is also an Author’s Note on Ramadan which is helpful for non-Muslims and Muslims.

I enjoyed how Rafi describes 8 year old Raza’s escape to the roof and the sounds he hears at Sehri time. It was amusing to read Raza’s thoughts and how he snuck up to the roof. I also enjoyed the illustrations by Abdul Malik Channa, especially of Raza’s nani (or maternal grandmother) as she looks like Z’s paternal great grandmother! Z also enjoyed the little orange cat in the pictures.

On his way he passed through room after room filled with heavy wood furniture, stubbing his toe in the dark more than once.

Z’s thoughts: Z enjoyed the part where Reza goes on the roof and disguises his voice to scare the cook Amina. It was a fun story to use a scary voice to. Z also loves parathas so she enjoyed pointing to the balls of dough. Z also wanted to hear the story of why he wanted parathas and how he got them, over and over again!

Favorite Quote:

I loved how the cook sounded like a paratha!

Amina the cook was heaving her plump, doughy body up the stairs to his grandmother’s room to wake her up. She had a lot of work to do since the whole family had gathered together in Lahore to celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.

Shortly after that came the aroma.

 

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This was Z’s favorite page because Amina the cook was cooking parathas and in Z’s words she really likes parathas!
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Ilyas and Duck Search For Allah children’s book review

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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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