Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Recommended Picture Book: Going to Mecca

Title: Going to Mecca

Author: Na'ima B Robert

Illustrator: Valentina Cavallini

Publisher: Frances Lincoln 

Suitable for ages: 5 and up

"Come with the pilgrims 
As they set out on a journey,
A journey of patience
To the city of Mecca..."


We are led on the journey of a lifetime to the city of Mecca - the pilgrimage known to Muslims as the Hajj. The pilgrims walk with heads bare and feet in sandals; they call to Allah; they kiss or point to the Black Stone, as the Prophet did. Arriving at Mecca, they surge round the Ka'aba, shave their heads and travel to Mount Arafat. Finally, though their bodies are tired and aching, their spirits are uplifted, knowing that with thousands of others they have performed the sacred pilgrimage.

This is a window on to a sacred journey for Muslims the world over - beautifully described and illustrated for younger children.


Hajj Activity Bank  Find a variety of ideas arranged by curriculum subjects.

Do the Hajj count Down  A variety of fun activities that relate to hajj.

Coloring pages here and here

What I like about this book:

I have not read too many books geared for children, especially for Muslim children, about Hajj that I really like. Most are boring with stiff text and the illustrations are unattractive. I was greatly relieved when I came by Na'ima Robert's book. Going to Mecca is a wonderful children's book that teaches little ones about the rites and rituals of Hajj. Na'ima Robert's lyrical prose invites the reader (parents and children alike) on a journey right along side the pilgrims on the page. I love the collage/textured feel of the illustrations. They are simple yet fun and child-centered. The illustrations bring alive the basic but important information in the text. This book can be a wonderful resource and introduction to learning about Hajj in both Muslim and non-Muslim classroom settings. It is especially ideal to include in multicultural curriculum. There is a glossary at the end of the book that explains important arabic words in the book. I highly recommend this book for every home and classroom.

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