Books to Read this Ramadan – For Young Readers

Books to Celebrate Ramadan (1)

A few years ago, a parent approached me at the library, asking if we had books on Eid or Ramzaan. She wanted to read it to her child’s class. We had two books with us – Ismat’s Eid and Ramadan Moon. While I love these two books for the stories and the representations of the celebration, I wished we had more books. I wished for a collection of books that spoke about a practice, faith, belief, culture, celebration not just to those of us who did not know enough or wanted to know more, but books that could also speak to those who follow the beliefs and practices, or belong to the faith, or know more. Over the last few years, I have been reading and collecting books about Ramadan – books that represent crucial elements of the faith and its practices beautifully and respectfully, books and stories that are mindful about not essentializing, or reifying stereotypes, books that showcase the diversity of Muslim life across the world. Here’s a list of books that are perfect for talking about, introducing, understanding and celebrating Ramadan (Most links in the post take you to the author’s website or to an Indie Book Seller). 

Ismat’s Eid

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|Author : Fawzia Gilani Williams | Illustrator : Proiti Roy |

Adapted from a Turkish tale, Ismat’s Eid is delightfully humorous picture book that is ultimately about family, affection and celebration. It’s Eid… Ismat buys his family special gifts, and a new pair of trousers for himself but they are just too long! A long pair can always be cut short and that’s where the story starts.

Yo Soy Muslim, A Father’s Letter to His Daughter

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|Author : Mark Gonzales | Illustrator : Mehrdokht Amini |

Yo Soy Muslim.
I am from Allah, Angels,

And a place almost as old as time.
I speak Spanish, Arabic,
And dreams….

Muslim and Latino poet Poet Mark Gonzales’ words in verse and Mehrdokht Amini vibrant illustrations are a celebration of identity and relationships. Written as a letter from a father to his daughter, Yo Soy Muslim lovingly highlights the diversity of the Muslim community and the world to her. The book speaks directly to the Muslim child…This book is not about but for them. 

Ramadan Moon

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|Author : Na’ima B. Robert | Illustrator : Shirin Adl |

Ramadan, the month of fasting
Doesn’t begin all at once
It begins with a whisper
And a prayer 
And a wish

Ramadan Moon is stunning picture book – in both its visual and its narrative. Told in the first person, it captures the wonder and delight of the celebration of a special month  that culminates with Eid-ul-Fitr. all through the eyes of a little girl. This book is a wonderful introduction to the meaning and practice of Ramadan.

Ramadan Around the World

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|Author : Ndaa Hassan | Illustrator : Azra Momin |

Ramadan Around the World, showcases how various cultures around the world celebrate this important month. The book brings together customs and traditions observed by children and families from different parts of our world. Also, do check out the link to the book for some really cool activities .

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets, a Muslim Book of Shapes

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|Author : Hena Khan | Illustrator : Mehrdokht Amini |

Juxtaposing geometric shapes on concepts, objects and architecture from Islamic faith and practices, this book brings for its readers, the significance of each in Muslim life. Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes is magic and joy!

Muezza and Baby Jaan, Stories from the Quran

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|Author : Anita Nair | Illustrator : Harshad Marathe|

This collection of stories from Quran for children (and grown ups!) opens up a wealth of wisdom and teaching.  The unlikely pair, a djinn in the form of a baby camel and the Prophet s favourite cat, Baby Jaan and Muezza, come together to bring for young readers mesmerizing tales, and the “wonder of rare, enlightening nuggets of Islamic lore”.  Author Anita Nair writes this book with great care and research. And we really did appreciate her for bringing us this book!

Lailah’s Lunchbox

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|Author : Reem Faruqi | Illustrator : Lea Lyon |

This book has been called by many as solid addition for libraries in need of modern Ramadan stories” . Lailah has moved to a new school in a new country far away from her home. When Ramadan begins, she is excited that she is old enough to participate in the fasting but worried that her new friends won’t understand. Encouraged by her librarian, she writes about her feeling, sharing her beliefs and culture with her new friends.

Night of the Moon

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|Author : Hena Khan | Illustrator : Julie Paschkis|

Along with the book Ramadan Moon (mentioned above), Night of the Moon beautifully illustrate the traditions ofRamadan. The month that begins for Muslims all over the world with the sighting of the Moon’s first crescent.  Seven-year-old Yasmeen, watches every night as the moon grows and shrinks and finally disappears, only to reappear and then its time to celebrate “Chaand Raat” (The Night of the Moon).

Owl and Cat…Ramadan is…

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|Author : Emma Apple | 

This picture book follows Owl & Cat, and their family and friends as they celebrate the 30 days of the Islamic month of fasting…Ramadan and the accompanying traditions.

The Little Girl says Alhamdulillah

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|Author : Rabia Gelgi | 

What a beautiful little picture about being grateful for all that we have on this world. This little certainly thinks so! She goes about her day in gratitude, saying “Alhamdulillah” (Praise be to God) for the littlest joys that she encounters.

*This picture book is available online as a e-book.

Going to Mecca

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|Author : Na’ima B Robert| Illustrator : Valentina Cavallini |

With stunning mixed media illustrations and a lyrical text,  this book offers a window on to a sacred journey for Muslims the world…Hajj. This is a great introduction to the religious practices and the deeper meaning of Hajj to young children as well as adults. Like all her books this one is absolutely beautiful.


 

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Rabani Garg has over 10 years of experience in designing and conducting literacy projects for schools, communities, and libraries in India. As an editor of Thinkling, an Indian children’s magazine she co-founded, she was involved in creating a literacy resource that focussed on encouraging linguistic, literary and cultural pluralism. Currently at University of Pennsylvania, she studies issues of diversity, representations and power structures in language, literature and media and its impact on learners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Come see the Ramadan Moon at Reading Caterpillar!

We have a special reading this coming Wednesday, 6th July*

We will read the book Ramadan Moon by Na’ima B Robert (published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Book) Come on over for a little bit of drama, a fun story and tinsel, strings and beads galore.  Ramadan Moon is a stunningly illustrated book. And beautifully captures the excitement of the celebrations through the eyes of a little girl. Listen to what happens through the month and share the joy.

Our favourite Navroop will join in this Wednesday morning to help us capture the excitement in an interesting project!

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Date & time – Wednesday 6th July, 11 am to 12.15 noon, Age – 4 to 9 years, 

Venue- Reading Caterpillar, Nizamuddin West

 Please email join@readingcaterpillar.com to know the registration details .

*Delhi schools have a holiday on 6th July. In case of a change of date, we will reschedule the session to that date.