Circle of Sandcastles by Mariam Al-Kalby, Illustrated by Yee Von Chan

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circle of sandcastles

The second book by Mariam Al-Kalby in The Prophet Says Series, is just as good, if not better than the first book, The Apple Tree.  Dedicated to her second daughter Maimuna, this story focuses on the hadith, “Whoever amongst you sees an evil, he must change it with his hands; if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart; and that is the weakest form of Faith” (Sahih Muslim).

The book follows shy Maimuna as she goes from stopping bullies picking on a deaf classmate within her heart, with her tongue and finally as she has to get her hands involved.  Once again the illustrator does a wonderful job bringing the story to life with joyful playful illustrations and detail.  I used this book with the preschoolers at story time when talking about the five senses and with the kindergartners when talking about bullying and being mean, in both scenarios the book had a strong impact on the students.  I’ve had students remind me in passing how we should handle bullies in our heart or with our tongue and even my own 4 year old has referenced the book when seeing people communication in sign language.  Like the first book, the discussion that follows can be different with each reading, which keeps it in regular rotation.  The bullies are not all bad, but one doesn’t feel guilty giving lots for the reader to speculate upon if they so choose. Shy Maimuna has to be courageous and assess the situation if it is something she feels she can get involved with or not.  Mu’min, the child’s whose sandcastles keep getting destroyed, shows us that Allah swt made us each different, but really the same too.

The book has four Urdu words in it, that actually kind of seem awkward and forced, I simply translated them to English when reading to students (there is a glossary in the back), if you are familiar with Urdu they are fine, but rather unnecessary in my opinion.  The book has 32 pages, is hardback and beautiful inside and out. The author’s website has a cute coloring page http://apocketfulofnotes.com/2013/11/14/circle-of-sandcastles-coloring-sheet/ and inshaAllah your kids enjoy the book as much as mine do, I can’t wait to see what she writes next.

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