This set of books claim to be for children ages 8 to 12, but I think they work better for 7 to 10 year olds. They look like leveled readers, and resemble them in their simple linear story lines. They are broken up in to chapters, that really are not necessary, but because of the volume of text on each page, allows for a young reader to take a break. All four books in the series are connected chronologically and contain the same characters. They more or less present a problem, bring over their friends, have one of the friends offer some advice tied to a hadith or ayat from the Quran, and the advice is tested, and then shared once more. They are about 20 pages and have activities at the end that range from solving clues to writing paragraphs. The sentences and vocabulary are about a second grade level, with translations of Arabic and Turkish words, along with references to the Quran and Hadith appearing in the footnotes on the page they are mentioned on.
The best part of the books is that they are written by an 8th Grader, mashaAllah. I think they teach a lesson in a simple way, and while not terribly suspenseful or comical, they do succeed in showing Islamic lessons in relatable situations for kids. Some of the details seem excesses or meandering, but again, the fact that it is written by a kid, will inspire readers to listen differently to lessons about patience, accepting Allah’s will, recognizing one’s own limitations, and putting Allah (swt) above all else.
The pictures are colorful and simple. They appear every few pages in the book and provide a nice break from the text. They are sweet and not detailed, but sufficient for the story and level.
Max is a character in a series of leveled readers that explores familiar topics to build reading confidence (Max Goes to the Doctor, Max Goes to School, etc.), and introduces new ideas as the reader’s skills build (Max Celebrates Cinco de Mayo, Max Learns Sign Language, etc.). I love that Ramadan was included and this 24 page AR 2.0 book is spot on, in what a new reader can handle without getting frustrated or bored in terms of content, and ability.
Max goes to his friend Omar’s house to celebrate Ramadan. He learns a little about the month, what the Quran is and about Eid al Fitr too. The foreign words are explained in the text and there is no explanation of belief or doctrine. There are just simplified, age appropriate, descriptions of what a Muslim does and what you might see during Ramadan. Very level appropriate for Muslim and non Muslim children. Omar’s family is inviting and kind, and the illustrations show them to probably be of Indian decent as the mother and other females are wearing saris. None of the women cover, but the males all wear kufis.
The book doesn’t stand out in any way, but most leveled readers, in my opinion, don’t. If you have young readers check and see if your library has the book, the kids will enjoy it. It works ok in small groups, but not for story time so well, as it is rather repetitive in a dry, not predictive way. If you are a kindergarten through 3rd grade teacher, I think this book would be a great addition to your book shelf, as well as the others in the series as a way to learn about other people in an independent way. My son going in to first grade read it by himself fluently and enjoyed the pictures. Someone new to the concept of Ramadan, i think, would also be able to grasp the concepts without much outside help.