A sweet tale about siblings who participate in the giving spirit of Ramadan.

HAMZA AND ALIYA SHARE THE RAMADAN CHEER

A brother and sister decide to embrace the joys of Ramadan in this picture book.

Siblings Hamza and Aliya wake up one morning to find that their parents are preparing for the month-long observance of Ramadan. After seeing the new moon that marks the beginning of Ramadan, the kids write down their resolutions for the holy month, and they help Mama bake plenty of treats with which to break their fast each night. One day, Mama is exhausted after preparing lots of food, and takes a nap. Hamza and Aliya decide to make a treat for Mama, calling up their grandmother, who guides them through whipping up no-bake date balls. Mama is delighted when she wakes up and tries them. The book contains recipes for all the desserts mentioned in the charming story as well as some informative background on the role of dates and honey in the Qur’an. Khan’s vibrant illustrations help set the celebratory tone of the tale. There is not a lot of description of Ramadan itself, implying that this work is intended for Muslim children who are already familiar with the holy month.

A sweet tale about siblings who participate in the giving spirit of Ramadan. (glossary)

Pub Date: June 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-68312-194-7

Page Count: 51

Publisher: Kisa Kids Publications

Review Posted Online: June 25, 2020

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Though cheerful illustrations add some zest, this little prayer feels flat.

MY LITTLE PRAYER

Based on the lyrics of his song by the same name, Archuleta’s foray into picture books calls upon his musical roots as well as his faith.

The book is language-sparse, with most of the story told through Ugolotti’s illustrations. These depict a White child who dreams of playing soccer but must grapple with disappointment. When the unnamed protagonist, who presents male, is not picked to play for the soccer team, he befriends a Black child who presents female and who has also been left out of the game, due to injury. Their initial connection on the sidelines blossoms into a true friendship, proving to be a far richer outcome than the aspiring soccer star could have anticipated. Alongside the visual story runs a little prayer of gratitude thanking God for his presence, patience, and plan in the child’s life. The words are general, with no reference to either soccer or friendship: “Heavenly Father, I am grateful for your eternal presence. / I am learning to be patient and that you are really there.” Though the interracial mixed-gender friendship is cute, the overall prayer and plot are bland. This is useful to augment collections and bookshelves where Christian picture books are in high demand, but it does not stand out from the pack. (This book was reviewed digitally.)

Though cheerful illustrations add some zest, this little prayer feels flat. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 2021

ISBN: 978-1-952239-54-0

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Bushel & Peck Books

Review Posted Online: Aug. 18, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 2021

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Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque.

IN MY MOSQUE

Children welcome readers into different mosques to learn about varying activities and services that take place in them.

Though many different mosques and children are depicted, the voices call readers’ attention to the similarities among Muslim communities around the world. Yuksel highlights the community eating together; women, men, and children sharing the space and praying together; grandfathers thumbing their tasbihs; grandmothers reading the Quran; aunties giving hugs; children playing. The effect is to demonstrate that a mosque is more than just a building but rather a space where children and adults come together to pray, give, learn, and play. Joyful characters describe what happens in simple, poetic language: “In my mosque, the muezzin’s call to prayer echoes in the air. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends, linked like one long chain.” Aly’s bright illustrations pair well with Yuksel’s words, ending with a beautiful spread of children staring at readers, waving and extending their hands: “You are welcome in my mosque.” The variety of mosques included suggests that each has its own unique architecture, but repeating geometric patterns and shapes underscore that there are similarities too. The author’s note guides readers to her website for more information on the mosques depicted; they are not labeled, which is frustrating since the backmatter also includes a tantalizing list of famous mosques on every continent except Antarctica.

Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque. (glossary, sources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297870-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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