Monday, August 19, 2013

Recommended Picture Book: Under the Ramadan Moon

Title: Under the Ramadan Moon

Author: Sylvia Whitman

Illustrator: Sue Williams

Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company;  March 1, 2011

Age: 3-7 years

Themes: Ramadan, Fasts and Feasts, Islam, Moon

Opening: We wait for the moon. We watch for the moon. We watch for the Ramadan moon.

We wait for the moon. We watch for the moon. We watch for the Ramadan moon.
We give to the poor, and read Qur’an, under the moon.
We live our faith, until next year under the moon, under the moon, under the Ramadan moon.
Ramadan is one of the most special months of the Islamic year, when Muslims pray, fast, and help those in need. Sylvia Whitman’s lyrical story, with luminous illustrations by Sue Williams, serves as an introduction to Ramadan—a time for reflection and ritual with family and friends. 

A detailed not about Ramadan is included at the end of the books.
This blog has some really fun activities based off the story. Jannah Steps has a treasure trove of Ramadan activities for all ages.

Why I Like This Book:
This book is perfect in every way. It is perfect for introducing Muslim culture and the Muslim holiday, Ramadan, to young children. In a classroom setting, this book is great because the words are simple, rhythmic and has repetition that is helpful to get children engaged and interactive during story time. For non-Muslim children, it shows the different practices of Muslims during the month like spending time with family, visiting friends, speaking kind words, giving to the poor, praying, reading from the Muslim holy book, the Qur'an.  Muslim families will enjoy the ease of reading the story to their children and discuss all the things that make this month special and important to Muslims. The best thing about the Under the Ramadan Moon, are the illustrations. They are so warm and beautiful. During story time at the Islamic Kids Library, one of the kids noticed that on each page, the moon changed. That it went from a crescent, to full moon, back to a crescent again. :) The moon is important to Muslims as it marks the beginning and end of each of the lunar months. So it was really cool to see the children recognize this and that the illustrator took the time to include this into her illustrated story. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Recommended Picture Book: Soo's Boo-Boos by Tilda Balsley

Title: Soo's Boo-Boos

Author: Tilda Balsley

Illustrator: Shelagh McNicholas

Publisher: Tiger Tales,

Age: 3 - 7 years

Theme: Numbers: 1-10, Problem Solving

Opening: Soo counted boo-boos. "I've got 10!"

Summary: Uh-oh!  Soo has ten boo-boos.  But she’s in luck!  Her mom knows ten ways to soothe her her boo-boos.  Count from one to ten and back again as Soo shows her mom her boo-boos and her mom makes them all better again!

Resources: This story is all about counting and problem solving. Get children to find ten of something that is similar (ten bottle caps, cars, marbles, pennies, pebbles, etc,.) Practice counting up and back down again.
Discussion topics: How many boo-boos did Soo have? What were they? How did Soo's mother fix her boo-boos?
Role Play: Gather all the dolls, stuffed animals in the house. Come up with different kinds of boo-boos and have children help you fix them.
Teaching Ideas has many problem solving activities.
Math Maven Mysteries has a lot of fun math mysteries for children to solve

Why I Like This Book:
Children and parents alike will enjoy reading this counting book! Soo has ten boo-boos. She counted them. From a stiff elbow, scabby knees, chapped lips to scratches, bug bites and more. But Soo is in luck. She has a mom who is a specialist in fixing her boo-boos. Kids will definitely relate to this fun rhyming story. I particularly enjoyed Soo's play for sympathy and I loved how her mother showed her love and care by addressing each one with just the perfect cure for each of Soo's ailments.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Recommended Picture Book: The Perfect Gift

Title: The Perfect Gift

Author: J. Samia Mair

Illustrator: Craigh Howarth

Publisher: The Islamic Foundation

Age: 5 - 7 years

Grade Level: Kindergarten - 2

Themes: Eid/Eid al-Adha, Nature Appreciation, Family, Gift-giving

Opening: Sarah looked out the window. She was very sad.

Book Summary:
Sarah is sad because she cannot find an Eid gift for her mother, so she takes a walk along the secret path in the woods that always makes her feel better. There she finds the first flower of spring—God's perfect gift to the world. Leaving her gift in its place to share with her entire family, Sarah grows in her understanding and appreciation of nature and what it means to live in submission to God.

A glossary at the end of the book explains many of the Islamic terms used in the book.
Perfect for spelling games, word finds and crossword puzzles.

The story is set at the time of Eid ul Adha, though nothing pertaining to the religious aspects of the event is given.

It’s also set in early Spring. Depending on where you live, you can talk about the winter/spring seasons and what happens to animals and plants during this time. Take your children of students on a walk through a natural setting outdoors and talk about what kinds of “perfect gifts” you see. Let children draw pictures and even write stories about what they find.

Talk about Allah as Al Khaliq who created all the beautiful things around us. Ask children how they can enjoy nature without destroying it.

Find more activities here at Activity Village.

Why I Like This Book: 
Eid is to Muslims as Christmas is to Christians. It is a time for remembrance, family, friends and gift-giving. But what happens when one does not have the money to buy gifts to give. That is where the true story and spirit of Eid comes in The Perfect Gift. Sarah is a young girl who does not have a gift for her mother. She does not have money like her brother and is not talented in calligraphy like her sister who makes a beautiful picture using calligraphy and the frames it. When Sarah takes a walk through the snow-covered woods she observes just how beautiful nature really is and begins to appreciate it. She stumbles up the first flower of spring. It was beautiful and decides this is the "perfect gift." Her appreciation of the natural beauty of Allah's (God's) creation is shown when she decides to not pick the flower but instead builds a cute little picket fence around it made out of popsicle sticks and attaches a sign that says, "Eid Mubarak! Allah's perfect gift to the world." I love message this story gives. The best gift is not always the ones you buy or even make.