Tag Archives: bedtime

Common Threads: Adam’s Day at the Market by Huda Essa illustrated by Merce’ Tous

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Common Threads: Adam’s Day at the Market by Huda Essa illustrated by Merce’ Tous

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A lot of story is conveyed in this 13 word book for preschoolers about diversity, similarities, and love.  In 32 picture rich pages you meet a little family at an outdoor market, see Adam lose track of his parents as he follows a bird, and meet a lot of kind people as he mistakes them for his parents based on the clothing they are wearing.

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Naturally it has a happy ending, and it appears all the characters come together to get to know one another.  The pictures are beautiful and radiate with light and colors.

The market in general is diverse and the characters Adam meets show clothing similarities.  His mother wears hijab and he mistakes a nun in a habit for her, and then a lady in a kanga.  He thinks he sees his father, but it is a man with a yarmulke and a gentleman in a similar color shalwar kameez looks a lot like his dad’s kurta, but isn’t him either.

This is truly a picture book with sparse words of “Mama?” and “Baba?” being the bulk of the text.  It is visual and conversation sparking in its minimal and simplistic text.  By not having the author fill in the conversation, a preschooler gets to do it themselves, and hopefully broaden their mind in the process.

The beginning of the book has a beautiful Note to Readers urging children and adults to engage in diverse collaborations to increase empathy, innovation, social justice, and understanding to the benefit of us all.

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The book concludes with a challenge to children to become cultural detectives.  It notes that what we wear sends a message about who we are, but it is just what you see on the outside.  It encourages us to ask questions respectfully and kindly to learn about one another.

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Ali and the Moon by M.I. Kafray illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel

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Ali and the Moon by M.I. Kafray illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel

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I originally bought this book in Ramadan and had hoped to review it so that those looking for Ramadan books could benefit. But it isn’t Ramadan specific, just moon themed, and I really was so disappointed with the binding quality for the amount I paid for it, I didn’t think it was fair to review the story until I could get over the number of blank white pages in the book, and the overall copy-shop self-printed and bound vibe that the book emits as soon as you hold it.

The premise of the book is the hadith that if you see something bad you should change it with our hands, and if you can’t, then change it with your tongue, and if you can’t do that, then pray for them in your heart. 

The 16 page book starts off a bit awkward, with the boy just staring at the moon, but by page five, the story hits its stride and is sweet.  The moon dims and is sad about the state of the world.  Ali starts talking to the moon in rhyming lines, and convinces him that there is still good in the world.  The moon and Ali decide that at night they will pray for the world and the people in it.

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The end of the book has the hadith and the surahs one should say before going to sleep: Surah al-Ikhlaas, Surah al-Falaq, then Surah an-Nas and lastly, Ayatul Kursi.

The illustrations are cute, they are expressive and the moon and boy sweet.  I just wish the paper had more weight and that the story a bit longer.  A lot could be discussed with the premise of the Muslim boy talking to the moon with a great vantage point.  More specifics and more inspiration would have made this mediocre, albeit expensive book, great.

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How to Scare a Monster by Zanib Mian

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I like a lot of books, but this one, well it might be my favorite.  The size, the length, the colors, the fonts, the illustrations, the message, truly it is fabulous for 3-5 year olds.

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The premise is simple and straightforward.  The book doesn’t try and do too much or put too much on its 32 pages.  It identifies ways to deal with monsters, and then offers what some people try and do to scare them away, concluding the best and only solution, is to ask Allah for help by saying, Audhoobillah.  

Kids will laugh at the silly illustrations and attempts to be monster free, and remember the clear strong message of calling on Allah swt when afraid.  

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The only critique for me is the page about the kid with a stink-bomb in their nappy. While funny, the sentence structure doesn’t flow, the narrator’s voice seems abrupt and off to me.  Possibly that it goes from active voice to passive for that line only (its been a while since I’ve articulated grammar structure, so maybe not :)).

Most people try to rrooaaarr!

or hide under the bed.

Sometimes they call their mum, mmummm!

or even better.  A kid with a stink-bomb in their nappy.

Some turn the lights on,

or hold on to their favourite teddy.

Other than that, the book is fun and works well for muslim kids at story time or bedtime alike, alhumdulillah.