Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Recommended Picture Books: A Party in Ramadan

Title: A Party in Ramadan

Author: Asma Mobin-Uddin

Illustrator: Laura Jacobsen

Publisher: Boyds Mills Press; April 1, 2009

Ages: 7 - 9

Topics/Themes: Ramadan, birthday party, religious holidays, Muslim culture, choices, tolerance, friendship

Leena twirled around in front of the kitchen table, breathless and excited as her mother pulled out an invitation from the large envelope. "Mom, Julia is going to have a pony at the party, and we get to ride it!" 

Book Summary:
Ramadan is coming and Leena is excited. Although she is too young to fast each day during the Muslim holy month, she decides to fast on a Friday that her aunt will be visiting. Now Leena has a dilemma. She receives an invitation to a party which happens to fall on that same Friday. Leena doesn’t want to miss the party, but she doesn’t want to miss fasting either.

Lots of activities and lessons about Ramadan. DLTK has an arts and craft section. See if you can complete the Ramadan Scavenger Hunt.

What I like about the book:

This is another wonderful introduction to Muslim practices and holidays. Leena, like most Muslim children, wants to fast but is conflicted when the day she chooses to fast falls on the same day as a long awaited birthday party. Leena is given the option to fast if she wants or just pick another day. For children who are not required it is so important for parents to be understanding and to allow them to make some choices on their own and respect their choices. Children often learn by example and experience. Her mother could have told her no, that it would be impolite to go to the party and not eat especially since the neighbors did not know anything about fasting or Ramadan. She could have told her that she would be much too hungry and thirsty due to all the running and playing she'd do at the party. But she allowed Leena the chance to experience it all for herself. Leena was even rewarded with a very thoughtful gesture on her friend's part. I loved how Leena's friend offers to stay back with her when it is time to eat cake. Sometimes, children show more kindness and tolerance  than we actually give them credit for. At the end of the book there is an explanation about Ramadan and it's importance to Muslims and the Muslim women's headdress, the Hijab. 

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