Books by Ned Gannon

TIME TO PRAY by Maha Addasi
by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gannon, translated by Nuha Albitar
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2010

In an unnamed Middle Eastern country, Yasmin learns about Islamic customs and prayer on a visit to her grandmother. Coming from a suburban U.S. home, the girl says that she does not live near a mosque, but she also has not yet learned about the five prayers of the day in her own home—this contrivance sets up the didacticism that follows, but it feels utterly unrealistic. Her grandmother makes her prayer clothes, buys her a prayer rug and takes her to the mosque. Best of all, she gives the girl a surprise gift to help her with her prayer at home. The oil paintings are rich in tone, and the geometric patterns of cloth, rugs and the mosque are engaging, but Yasmin and her grandmother look different on almost every page. This distracts from the story, which, given its evident educational intent, is almost too simple. The names of the different prayers are only given in the explanation for adults, for instance. It is unusual and therefore praiseworthy to see a bilingual English and Arabic book from a major American publisher, but this bland effort fails. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
THE WHITE NIGHTS OF RAMADAN by Maha Addasi
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

Instead of focusing on Eid, the holiday that concludes Ramadan, this title recounts a Kuwaiti family's celebration of Girgian, a lesser-known tradition observed in many Persian Gulf countries. Noor and her younger brothers, Sam and Dan, prepare candy for the Halloween-like event in the middle of the month, when the moon is full. After praying, fasting and breaking their fast with an evening meal, the siblings don their traditional dress and walk door-to-door by lantern light. At each neighbor's house, Sam beats his drum and announces that he is the new musaher, a man who uses his drums to wake people for their predawn meal, and the children receive candy in return. Their grandmother acknowledges the fun surrounding Girgian, but reminds Noor of the true meaning of Ramadan. In the spirit of the religious observance, the girl concludes her exciting night by delivering food to the mosque. Illustrated with detailed, luminescent oils, this picture book makes an excellent introduction to this Muslim celebration and a good companion to Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith's Celebrating Ramadan (2001). (author's note, glossary) (Picture book. 7-10)Read full book review >