Friday, July 18, 2014

5 Positive Picture Books for Ramadan

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan is coming to an end soon, as the full moon is already waning its way towards next week's new moon. Why not take a moment during this time to think about adding some Ramadan books to your school or classroom library? These five fictional tales will help introduce students to some of the traditions and meaning of Ramadan.
5 Positive Picture Books for Ramadan | The Logonauts

Books about the Month of Ramadan


Night of the Moon: a Muslim holiday story by Hena Khan and illustrated by Julie Paschkis. Night of the Moon tells the story of the month of Ramadan through the eyes of seven-year-old Yasmeen (though her age and background as a Pakastani-American are directly referenced only on the book jacket, not within the story). Yasmeen's journey through the month and her questions provide background knowledge for the reader while still keeping the story interesting. 

Julie Paschkis used Islamic tiles as her inspiration for the designs and patterns behind the main illustrations, and her use of color gives the book a unified feel. I particularly appreciate the diversity of students pictured in Yasmeen's class and at the Night of the Moon celebration, as the illustrations reinforce the point that this is a story for everyone. 


Moon Watchers: Shirin's Ramadan Miracle by Reza Jalali and illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien follows in a very similar vein but with a slightly older protagonist, nine-year-old Shirin. (Again, it is only explicit in the jacket cover that the story takes place in America.) This book also follows Shirin's full month of Ramadan but with a stronger focus on some of the important practices like fasting, prayer, and good deeds. The realistic style of the illustrations may make it easier for younger readers to connect these characters to real people around them.


Under the Ramadan Moon by Sylvia Whitman is a lovely poem of a picture book about Ramadan. I generally love poetic picture books, but the level of repetition in this one could become tedious for somewhat older students. This would probably make a better one-on-one read than a whole class read aloud. The author concludes with a page-long note providing additional background about Ramadan.

Books about Eid



Samira's Eid by Nasreen Aktar and illustrated by Enebor Attard is a bilingual book available in ten different dual language editions: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Farsi, French, Gujurati, Panjabi, Somali, Turkish, and Urdu (the Arabic cover is pictured). This realistic fiction picture book focuses on the celebration of Eid at the conclusion of the month of Ramadan and follows Samira and her brother Hassan as they prepare. The setting is never explicit in this story, allowing the readers to infer their own connections between the location and the languages of the story.


Nabeel's New Pants: an Eid Tale retold by Fawzia Gilani-Williams and illustrated by Proiti Roy. This fun folktale was one of the books I picked up during my summer in Jordan, and it is a humorous take on Eid. As everyone hurries to get ready, Nabeel asks different family members to help him hem his pants. They each independently decide to help him secretly with predictably disastrous results!

Want more? Check out More Great Picture Books about Ramadans and Muslim Culture. Do you have a favorite Ramadan picture book that I have missed? Let me know in the comments.

11 comments:

  1. Thanks for telling me about these other Ramadan books. They look very interesting and I've added them to my list.

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    1. Thanks, Alex! I've got a couple from your post on order from the library and am really looking forward to them!

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  2. Came to this via Alex's post (http://randomlyreading.blogspot.co.uk/2015/06/some-books-about-ramadan-for-young.html) :-) I love Julie Paschkis' work and I have missed this one so I will definitely hunt it out - thank you.

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    1. You're welcome, Marjorie, thanks! Julie Paschkis is one of my favorites too!

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  3. https://globetrottinkids.com/2016/04/04/zachariahs-perfect-day-a-book-review/

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    1. Thanks for highlighting your book, Farrah. Looks like another excellent addition to this list!

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  4. More than ever, it benefits us all to understand other cultures and faiths. Ignorance breeds fear. Knowledge breeds respect. Thanks for this resource.

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    1. You put it so well, Gayle, thank you.

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  5. I really appreciate the fact that so many of these seen to be #ownvoices books, too - wonderful to hear about celebrations from different perspectives. Thanks for sharing these!

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  6. Thanks for sharing this list at #diversekidlit!

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