An affectionate, amusing tale that serves as a sweet introduction to a Muslim observance.

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THE JINNI ON THE ROOF

A RAMADAN STORY

In this illustrated children’s book, a boy’s prank leads to a better understanding of the true spirit of Ramadan.

In Lahore, Pakistan, 8-year-old Raza lives in a multigenerational family house. During Ramadan, which involves fasting during the day, adults eat a special pre-dawn breakfast called sehri that includes delicious parathas, made of hot and flaky fried dough. Raza loves these, but he must wait for his own later breakfast because young children aren’t expected to fast like adults do. Early one morning, he smells wonderful aromas from the kitchen and decides that he just has to have some sehri for himself. He sneaks out of his bedroom, climbs to the flat roof, and bellows down the chimney in his deepest voice to Amina, the maid: “I want you to make some parathas for me!” Frightened, Amina believes that a supernatural jinni is on the roof and runs to Raza’s grandmother, his “Nani.” She soon sees through her grandson’s prank, and although he does get some parathas, he’s also scolded for deceiving and frightening Amina and given a task to make it up to her. Raza realizes that his Nani is right to do this: “How would he be able to fast in the future if he could not even wait for breakfast?” The next year, Raza keeps his first fast, which his family celebrates by giving him money and presents. The book includes an author’s note on Ramadan, a glossary, and a recipe for parathas (which notes that an adult should fry them). In her debut book, Rafi tells a warmhearted, amusing story about growing up in one’s faith. The character of Nani handles Raza’s mischief well; she goes along with the prank to a certain extent, and he’s allowed to have his parathas, but he doesn’t get away with mistreating Amina, who forgives him and tells him stories about jinn. As a result, the boy is allowed to be boyish while still being gently guided toward his greater responsibility as a Muslim. Illustrator Channa’s rounded shapes and soft colors add to the book’s welcoming feel, including nice touches, such as an adorable orange kitten in the background who also gets into some mischief.

An affectionate, amusing tale that serves as a sweet introduction to a Muslim observance.

Pub Date: July 19, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9888649-0-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Pamir

Review Posted Online: April 22, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift.

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BECAUSE I HAD A TEACHER

A paean to teachers and their surrogates everywhere.

This gentle ode to a teacher’s skill at inspiring, encouraging, and being a role model is spoken, presumably, from a child’s viewpoint. However, the voice could equally be that of an adult, because who can’t look back upon teachers or other early mentors who gave of themselves and offered their pupils so much? Indeed, some of the self-aware, self-assured expressions herein seem perhaps more realistic as uttered from one who’s already grown. Alternatively, readers won’t fail to note that this small book, illustrated with gentle soy-ink drawings and featuring an adult-child bear duo engaged in various sedentary and lively pursuits, could just as easily be about human parent- (or grandparent-) child pairs: some of the softly colored illustrations depict scenarios that are more likely to occur within a home and/or other family-oriented setting. Makes sense: aren’t parents and other close family members children’s first teachers? This duality suggests that the book might be best shared one-on-one between a nostalgic adult and a child who’s developed some self-confidence, having learned a thing or two from a parent, grandparent, older relative, or classroom instructor.

A sweet, soft conversation starter and a charming gift. (Picture book. 4-7)

Pub Date: March 1, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-943200-08-5

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Compendium

Review Posted Online: Dec. 14, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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THE LORAX

The greening of Dr. Seuss, in an ecology fable with an obvious message but a savingly silly style. In the desolate land of the Lifted Lorax, an aged creature called the Once-ler tells a young visitor how he arrived long ago in the then glorious country and began manufacturing anomalous objects called Thneeds from "the bright-colored tufts of the Truffula Trees." Despite protests from the Lorax, a native "who speaks for the trees," he continues to chop down Truffulas until he drives away the Brown Bar-ba-loots who had fed on the Tuffula fruit, the Swomee-Swans who can't sing a note for the smogulous smoke, and the Humming-Fish who had hummed in the pond now glumped up with Gluppity-Glupp. As for the Once-let, "1 went right on biggering, selling more Thneeds./ And I biggered my money, which everyone needs" — until the last Truffula falls. But one seed is left, and the Once-let hands it to his listener, with a message from the Lorax: "UNLESS someone like you/ cares a whole awful lot,/ nothing is going to get better./ It's not." The spontaneous madness of the old Dr. Seuss is absent here, but so is the boredom he often induced (in parents, anyway) with one ridiculous invention after another. And if the Once-let doesn't match the Grinch for sheer irresistible cussedness, he is stealing a lot more than Christmas and his story just might induce a generation of six-year-olds to care a whole lot.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 1971

ISBN: 0394823370

Page Count: 72

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: Oct. 19, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1971

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