A Book For Families
One beautiful Ramadan day, in a park in the middle of the United Kingdom, I came together with my nephews and nieces to read Ramadan Around The World. We soon left behind the green grass and tall trees as we followed the Ramadan moon’s narration of exotic places and what he could see: people celebrating the blessed month in their own special way. Needless to say, we loved the book! My niece particularly loved the story being told from the moon’s point of view.
Ndaa Hassan, the author, offers readers a glimpse into different cultures across the globe – not only did the youngsters learn a lot, I did too! The wonderful illustrations by Azra Momin bring the text to life and sets a warm and cosy tone. Even though I was a stranger to these places and customs, I somehow felt at home, as though I fitted into the scenes. I love how the artwork appears as different textures on the page. There were things that seem to pop out – the pictures of food in particular! I read the book to my toddler a few days later and he kept touching and naming the foods he knew (and hazarding guesses about the unfamiliar!).
I had hung lights up in our home on the first day of Ramadan, so it was nice to see a scene of lights being put up in the book. My toddler could relate as he kept pointing to the decorations in the book and the lights in our lounge. I’m finding that doing things and talking about them goes some way, but where my toddler is concerned showing him the things we do that are also depicted in a book or video really cements his learning.
A Book For Educators
I had a 3 day Five Pillars workshop planned with a mosque and this book arrived just prior to that. I thought it would be a great teaching resource for the Ramadan section of the workshop.
Initially, I sat with the 30+ group of children (and mums were present too) to introduce the book to them and read the first page which sets the scene. Children were then divided into pairs and given pages about one particular place. They read their pages together then swapped pages with other groups until they had read about Ramadan practices in 2-3 locations. There was such a Ramadan BUZZ in the room -ma shaa Allah! We then came together as a collective and some children shared what they had read. I asked them questions to tease out more information and draw the room’s attention to particular things about the characters and practices.
They then sat together as groups of four to tell each other how they mark Ramadan in their own homes and cultures. The activity ended with some children feeding back to the rest of us. Since there were a few different cultures in the room, it reflected the similarities and differences of how Ramadan is celebrated; just like in this wonderful book!
For me, other highlights of the book include:
- Two beautiful ayahs from the Qur’an greet you upon opening the book which is perfect to for reflection
- Characters from different backgrounds and abilities are represented in this book, something which is close to the heart of Precious Bees.
- Islamic terminology is presented in bold in the text which is followed up by a helpful glossary at the back. Great for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. And great for educators who can use the list to make a quiz or gap-fill exercise.
Many more activities can be done with this book! I can definitely see it being used as a resource in Muslim and non-Muslim homes and school settings. And it’s not just for Ramadan. This book can be used all year round, particularly in the lead up to Ramadan.
When my children are older, I look forward to using it to research some of the recipes of the foods mentioned and try adopting for our own ifthaar in shaa Allah. Ideally, I’d love to travel to these places with my family, with the book under my arm, and experience the scenes for real in shaa Allah!
This is an independent review – it was not sponsored or endorsed by any parties relating to the book. We just love to share our views on great Islamic children’s books which benefit us!
For more information and to read the backstory to this book visit: https://www.launchgood.com/project/ramadan_around_the_world#!/