Tag Archives: prayer

Mustafa and Arwa go on a Prayer Adventure by Mekram Mohammad

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Mustafa and Arwa go on a Prayer Adventure by Mekram Mohammad

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This short rhyming book introduces toddlers and little ones to the five daily prayers as it presents the brother sister duo on a typical day.  Ok, so maybe not a typical day, unless dressing up as knights and battling each other, winning medals, and climbing mountains is typical.  But, it presents the salats in time sequence that little ones can understand, more than as hours on a clock or as the various position of the sun.  Fajr is early, and it guards your day, then you go to school, but the book reminds you to remember Allah, then you take a break for duhr and if you do, inshaAllah Allah will help you pass, then you come home and have a snack and then pray Asr, etcetera.  By combining daily activities like spending time with family and reading Quran with the five prayers makes the routine seem doable and inshaAllah making it regular will truly allow us all to battle, win, and reach new heights, ameen.

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The book is a great tool to learn the names of the prayers, and their order, while strengthening a child’s Muslim identity.  There is no glossary or further detail about Salah or how it is performed, but I think assumes that that the reader would be able to provide additional information to the listener.  The book is more to get children excited to pray, and get closer to Allah (swt).

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The illustratrions are adorable and the font and text appealing  to little children.  The book is one in an adventure series by Muslim Pillars, and I look forward to reading Mustafa and Arwa’s other adventures.

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A Bedtime Prayer for Peace by Akila Dada & Sukaina Dada illustrated by Michael Wagstaffe

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A Bedtime Prayer for Peace by Akila Dada & Sukaina Dada illustrated by Michael Wagstaffe

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This is a slow, deliberate, thoughtful book, that does a good job or setting a prayerful tone with short rhyming sentences.  Intended for preschool age children, early elementary children also will enjoy this book in rotation at bedtime or nap time.  

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The book thanks the creator and asks for protection for all things small and large, seen and unseen, in a gentle dreamlike manner that really could go on for so much longer than the 32 pages present.  Some items mentioned like the plants and trees a preschooler will know, but some of the concepts introduce little ones to something bigger, “Give shelter to families who need a home, Help all the people who feel alone,” “Guide us with your grace and might, keep us safe from every plight.”  

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The prayer is voiced by a mom to her young boy, Esa, and the illustrations show traditional subcontinent dress as well as western clothes being worn.  The author’s are Muslim but the book is not overtly Islamic.  Sometimes the mom is in hijab, but when in the home she is not.  More distinctly, the word Allah is not used, only God is, and thus the book and prayer, really would work for any monotheistic child as the book does say, “Dear God, protect my beautiful son, You are the Truth. You are the One.”

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The true treasure of this book is that the main character is in a wheelchair.  Showing different abled characters is always such a blessing as it normalizes it and inshaAllah makes us more accepting when out and about.  The illustrations don’t wow me, but their quiet simplicity keeps the pace of the book, and don’t scream for attention.  Some of the smaller details are endearing and help sleepy eyes linger on page without feeling rushed.

With a hard 8×8 cover, the book is a good size for little hands to read over and over again, alhumdulillah. 

 

Time to Pray by Maha Addasi, Arabic translation by Nuha Albitar, illustrated by Ned Gannon

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Time to Pray by Maha Addasi

On the surface this book presents itself to be fabulous: the large size, the dual language, the length (32 pages), and concept.  But alas, sadly, I was a little let down with the story, the characters, even the pictures.  The details about the characters are vague, the reader doesn’t know where the story takes place, where the girls parents or the rest of her family are (until the end), why she doesn’t know how to pray, and the climax isn’t really much of a surprise.  After reading this post from the author I appreciate that she left the location vague, to as not be burdened by one specific country, and I can see the origins of why the call to prayer from her own childhood is what the story focuses on.  I can also imagine the wealth of information and details that she had to sort through to decide what is needed to carry the story and what would ultimately repel a young reader.  All that in to consideration however, still didn’t connect me to the story of young Yasmin and her Grandma. Not to mention I didn’t have all the author’s justifications or rationale before reading it.

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The pages have both English and Arabic text and is written for older children. Despite the initial appearance of being a children’s picture book, it has an AR level of 4.2 and has some Arabic words in the text, an Author’s Note in the back and detail of Prayer Times in the back, as well.

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The pictures I want to say are beautiful, but for some reason I didn’t love them.  I am no art critic and they are detailed and large and I should probably ask a child, but here is one for you to decide your thoughts about them on your own.

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Additionally I’m not sure if she is washing her foot her, as part of Wudu, the obligatory cleansing before prayer, which in this case, would be portrayed erroneously, or if she is drying her foot, either way Grandma looks sad to me and not content or excited to prostrate to her creator.

All is not lost though in this book about a girl learning about prayer with her grandma and being surprised by a prayer outfit. prayer rug, and Athan clock when she gets home and finds while unpacking.  But some of the best parts are subtle and might not be gleamed by unassisted readers.  For example how Grandma dresses at home versus when she is out, that because Yasmin is young she is not reprimanded for not praying, or how patient and loving the Grandma is in a slower paced environment.  Overall, the book is unique in that it gives an introduction to Muslim’s prayers to both Muslim and non Muslim readers alike, but for such potential I felt it fell short of being fabulous.