Before she was Grandma Najma, she was just Najma. A girl in Turkey with a secret dream of being a musaharati, the person who walks the streets waking up the neighbors for suhoor in Ramadan. But, a girl had never done this and thus the dream stayed hidden until she was 12 and the neighborhood musaharati was feeling ill. Confiding in her baba, his love and support makes her dream come true against cultural norms and naysayers. The line from her Baba, “Girls can be anything they like,” is so clear that her one girl revolution grabs the hearts of the reader and turns readers into cheerleaders. The added beauty is her father’s support is not limited to his words, he accompanies her out every night almost challenging anyone to say she can’t do it. Overtime she becomes the pride of the area, and her brothers accompany her if she doesn’t want to go alone, and then eventually her husband and her children.
The book warms the soul and uplifts the spirit. The text seems geared to 7 year olds and up, as there is a lot of it, and at 26 pages does require some ability to focus. But with minor tweaks and condenscing the story appeals to children 4 and up and the pictures help hold their attention as they create a mood of wonder and whimsy.
Structurally the book is hardback and dust jacket free, yay! the cover is printed on and thus easier to maintain. The book is longer horizontally with most illustrations on the left side making it great for story time where the kids can see the pictures and the reader can hold and easily see the text without blocking the children’s line of sight. There is a glossary, an author’s note telling where the story comes from, and a little biography of the author and illustrator and publisher in the back.
A beautiful, beautiful book to share with children this Ramadan and all year long, alhumdulillah.