Tag Archives: prayer

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

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

MKPLC308-Bedtime-Front-Cover_frontzoom

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.  

FullSizeRender (9)

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.”  

FullSizeRender (8)

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.”

FullSizeRender (10)

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

Standard

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.

 IMG_3163

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.

IMG_3164

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.

IMG_3162

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.