Sunday, February 26, 2012

Book Giveaway: Noor Kids Discovery their Blessings

Recomended Picture Book: Around Our Way On Neighbors' Day by Tameka Fryer Brown

Title: Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day
Author: Tameka Fryer Brown

Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 08/01/2010

Suitable for: ages 4 – 8 years

Themes/Topics: neighborhood appreciation, neighbors, friendship, multicultural, diversity

“Blue sky, no clouds,
Summer heat, side street,
Whirling, whizzing feet.
Everyone is out to play
Today, around our way…”

Neighbors gather on a hot summer day for a joyful block party: Kids play double Dutch; men debate at the barber shop and play chess; mothers and aunts cook up oxtail stew, collard greens, and other delicious treats; and friends dance and sway as jazz floats through the streets.

A rhythmic tale that celebrates the diversity of a close-knit community, Around Our Way on Neighbors’ Day will excite readers and prompt them to discover the magic of their own special surroundings.

Links to resources:

Why I like this book:
It is so nice to see a book that shows a positive image of a diverse urban neighborhood. Ms Brown really did a wonderful job making this a fun and rhythmic story. The words danced and bounced on the page right along with the illustrations. I really liked how I was introduced to everyone on the block and allowed to partake in the different activities! I cracked up when all was fine and dandy until mama’s kitchen mishap! I guess the book reminded me of the good ole days when community was everything. Everyone came together to share in good times. Another great thing about this book is, it can be used in the classroom year round! Its applications are diverse. It can be used to study poetry, foster or enhance a discussion on diversity, encourage community both in and outside the classroom, types of art, and so much more.

For a complete list of books with resources that engage, educate and entertain, visit the blog of author Susanna L Hill.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Good Deed Friday: Helping with Chores

Happy Good Deed Friday! Today's good deed idea does not require any money at all! Helping your mom or dad with chores is a great deed and very helpful! Help you dad wash the family car, help your mom fold the laundry, watering the lawn, taking out the garbage and washing the dishes. You can even help your siblings clean their room. There are lots of ways in chipping in and helping your family and home! Remember, when everyone pitches in, it makes the job a lot more fun and easier. And the work gets done much faster! ;)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Recomended Picture Book: Moon Watchers by Reza Jalali

Title: Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle

Author: Reza Jalali

Publisher: Tilbury House, May 11. 2010

Suitable for: 6 and up

Themes/Topics: Cultures, Family traditions, Religious holidays, Sibling rivalry, Fasting, Ramadan, Making ethical decisions.

Opening: I lean up against my father as the sky gets darker around us. Way above our heads, tiny stars start to appear. We search for the  new moon.

Synopsis: Looking through the tall trees in their backyard in Maine, Shirin and her dad search for a glimpse of the new moon, the sign that the month of Ramadan has begun. Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world pray, fast, and pay special attention to doing good deeds. Shirin is nine and thinks she should be able to fast like her older brother Ali, but her parents feel she is still too young to go without food and water all day. When Shirin catches Ali sneaking food after school, she wonders: Should she tattle or is this an opportunity for a good deed? Shirin feels left out when the others break their fasts to have their own meals after dark and in the early morning, before it is light again. But then her grandmother tells a story that shows her a way she can feel more a part of Ramadan and the traditions and closeness her family enjoys during this special month of the year. Her good deeds result in a surprise for everyone!

Links to resources:
The publisher offers a wonderful lesson plan with resources to go along with Moon Watchers. Some activities include: How to make one of Shirin’s favorite dish, Persian rice, Make  a Ramadan Mosaic Sun Catcher, Moon watching, lots of discussion related topics and more.

Why I like this book:
 Muslims around the globe observe Ramadan, from Africa, Asia, the Americas and across Europe and Australia. Moon Watchers is the story of an Iranian family and how they observe the month in their home in the US. It reflects Iranian culture beautifully and accurately. Growing up I had the wonderful opportunity to spend a couple of Ramadans with an Iranian family during their stay here. The family had children the same ages as my two younger sisters and me. This story brought back quite of few good memories of sleepovers and Iftars (the dinner meal) and grand Eids (End of Ramadan festival) and gifts.

Shirin is your average Muslim child in every Muslim household during the month of Ramadan. She wants to partake in the holiday and fast with the rest of the family. Her problem? She is too young. Most families restrict their young children from fasting until they are old enough to understand what fasting is. But like every little Muslim child I know, Shirin doesn’t think that is hardly any ‘real’ reason why she can’t fast like all the big people, including her older brother, Ali. The story touches on something EVERY child goes through, wanting to partake in family traditions and rituals. It doesn’t matter whether its Ramadan, Christmas, Deepavali or Hanukah, children want to be a part of the festivities. Another universal theme of the book is sibling rivalry. What child has NOT had to deal with that! I have two younger sisters and two older brothers!! :D I love that the story ends with Ali, Shirin’s older brother being nice to her and that she keeps his secret. The story begins with sighting the moon, which is very important to Muslims. The new moon signals the beginning and end of the month. I love that the moon remains a part of the story. The illustrations beautifully capture the feel and warmth of the family and their traditions. From their prayer rugs, traditional dishes and religious artifacts and my favorite, the picture of the “hundreds of tiny silvery pieces.” There aren’t hundreds of pieces but the illustration is beautiful!!! J

The story also highlights the many aspects of Ramadan, fasting and doing good deeds, something I feel is lacking in many religious holidays where consumerism is pushed rather than the more spiritual aspect of the holiday like being and doing good for others, family and community. Shirin learns that doing good things for others is just as important and apart of Ramadan as is the fasting. I also found that it accurately reflected the physical state of most people who fast, tiredness, the caffeine withdrawal for the coffee and tea drinkers, jitters for smokers, and more. Personally, I am a habitual snacker. If it is in the house, I snack. During the first week of Ramadan I almost always have to catch myself from just popping something in my mouth because it is there!

For kids just starting out fasting, cheating is natural. They are not used to the hunger. I don’t know of any person who fasted as a kid and did not grab something while no one was looking!!! LOL! I love that Ali is not scolded in the story. Not even by his little sister gets on him about cheating during the fast. I remember once when I was around eleven or twelve, we were at a park and I told my mom I was hot and wanted to put some water on my face! Ha, water on my face indeed! (In my defense, it WAS a hot day :D) but I know my mom knew better as I went many, many times to that water fountain. But you know, that is how kids learn, over the years, I fought that urge and at age 15 fasting was no longer hard for me. So, don’t worry Ali, you will get there one day!! ;) 

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Social Media Wiz Wanted!!!!!!! Intern with Noor Kids!

Are you passionate about helping Muslim children? Are you interested in becoming a social media expert/current student majoring in Business or Journalism? Do you maintain an active presence on social media websites such as facebook, twitter, tumblr, etc. Then maybe this is just for you. Noor Kids is looking for a motivated, talented and (most importantly) passionate Social Media Wizard who would like to build his/her social media skill-set and brighten the lives of little Muslims! 

Responsibilities include: 

  • Develop our overall social media strategy and promotions across all of our channels – Facebook, Twitter, Email Lists, and
  • Brainstorm potential social media promotions
  • Create engaging content on and partner blogs
  • Engage our Facebook fan base and ambassadors with regular updates
  • Grow our twitter fan base by connecting with customer and collaborators
  • Cultivate relationships with leading Muslim Bloggers
  • Develop an email marketing strategy

For more information and how to apply for the position, go to Noor Kids website.