Tag Archives: preschool

The Adventures of Adam and Anisah: My Brother’s Shield by Zahra Patel illustrated by Reyhana Ismail

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The Adventures of Adam and Anisah: My Brother’s Shield by Zahra Patel illustrated by Reyhana Ismail

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Based on the idea that “Fasting is a Shield (ibn Majah),” this adorable book brings Ramadan not just to life, but makes those that fast into absolute superheroes!  Over 32 pages of simple large rhyming words, little Anisah shares her wonder and amazement toward her brother, and his shield that he wields during Ramadan.  The beauty of her admiration for her older sibling combined with the message, illustrations, and presentation, make this book (there is also an accompanying workbook) perfect for ages three and up.

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It starts with a secret.  Adam is a superhero.  When Ramadan arrives, the shield comes out and Adam carries it all day.  He doesn’t eat or drink when he has it.  It makes him brave and saves him from tempting biscuits.  It gives him peace when he reads Quran. It keeps him calm when there is a foul during a soccer game. It even keeps him away from gossip at the mosque.

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When they break their fast, they pull out their magic carpet to fly.  And when Ramadan is over the shield goes away until it is needed again. Anisah patiently marks off the days on the calendar until Ramadan will arrive, because she has another secret.  She is training to be a superhero too.

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The book concludes with how the story came about, discussion questions and some activities to help learn through practice. The illustrations show diversity and whimsy and toddlers and preschoolers, I’m certain will be begging for this story all year around.

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My First Book About Allah: Teachings for Toddlers and Young Children by Sara Khan illustrated by Ali Lodge

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My First Book About Allah: Teachings for Toddlers and Young Children by Sara Khan illustrated by Ali Lodge

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This 26 page non fiction sturdy board book packs in a lot of information in a really simple way that will keep little one’s attention and hopefully encourage them to ask deeper questions as they grow.  The illustrations are soft and alternate between detailed familiar scenes and simple background style scenes that draw attention to the text on the page. It covers the Shahadah, who Allah (swt) is, it mentions that He has 99 names,  that He sent us the Quran and the final messenger is Prophet Muhammad (saw).  The book at times is wordy, and perhaps the vocabulary a bit above a toddlers level, but the flow is smooth and the tone is warm, inviting, and is requested often by my little ones. (It is reasonably priced by at small bookstores, and double the price on Amazon).

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The book starts off by stating that Muslims believe that there is only one God and His name is Allah.  It shows it in Arabic as well on a very muted background.  The next page is much more lively with illustrations showing someone pray, a picture of the ka’aba, a family eating, and a mother reading Quran and making dua.

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The family is then depicted gathered together with the little children asking “WHO is Allah?” and the book dedicating the next few pages to explaining that Allah swt, is the One who made everything and has power over all. He makes the sun rise and set and everything in the heavens and the earth belong to Him.

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The book explains that Allah even loves us more than our own parents before explaining that Allah has 99 names and Ar-Rahman and Ar-Rahim are the ones we hear the most.  The background has many of the names of Allah written in Arabic.

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The family prays knowing Allah is All Hearing and All Seeing.  An illustration of a cave with a bird and spiderweb accompany the page that tells us that He sent us the Qur’an and Prophet Muhammad (saw) to show us how to live. InshaAllah if we do as we are supposed to, we are promised paradise and Allah never breaks His promise.

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The book concludes with Facts about Allah and Questions about Allah (swt). The pages are glossy and 6 x 8 in size.

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How Much Does Allah Love Me? by Heba Subeh-Hyder illustrated by Aatena Hasan

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How Much Does Allah Love Me? by Heba Subeh-Hyder illustrated by Aatena Hasan

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I waited to review this book to see if my initial response would change, and before I got around to writing up the review, the second book in the Maymunah’s Musings has come out.   So I am admittedly a bit late and quite a bit behind, and based on other people’s review I’m in the minority on my opinions.  This 40 page book is wonderfully presented with a multicultural girl asking her mother about Allah’s love for her.  I wanted to absolutely love the text as much as the playful illustrations, but I felt like it was a bit wordy in places, a bit out of order in the mom’s explanation to the little girl making it somewhat repetitive, and ultimately I wanted a bit more.  More ayats or references or even specific examples.  There is truly nothing wrong with the book, but at its price point I was a bit disappointed.

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Maymunah is looking out the window and thinking about Allah swt: what she has learned in Sunday school and about His remarkable creations.  She recalls the amazing animals, the vast number of stars in the sky, the different type of trees, and her family.

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She loves Allah, and wants to know how much He loves her.  So she rushes to find her mother, the only person that can answer that question (I’m not sure why no one else can).  Her mother lovingly and patiently situates herself with Maymunah in her lap to answer the important question.

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Maymunah’s mom explains that Allah loves her more than the billions of stars in the sky, more than all the fish in the ocean, more than all the raindrops that fall, more than the billions of people in the entire world, more than all grains of sand on the beach, and blades of grass in the meadow.

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Then Maymunah’s mom asks her if she knows how much Mama loves her. Maymunah repeats back all the examples her mother has just given for how much Allah loves Maymunah.  The mom then says and Allah loves you more than that.  

Maymunah is satisfied and reflects on how much Allah loves her and then remarks that her love for her mother and her mother’s love for her is bigger than the whole wide world. The last page of the book mentions that her love for Allah is more than that and that Allah’s love for her was even bigger, but it seemed muddled to me as it started stressing how big a mother and child’s love is.   

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I felt like the natural order would be to explain to a child how much a mother loves them, then say Allah loves you even more.  Not tell all the ways Allah loves you, then talk about how much Mama loves you with the exact same examples and then say Allah loves you more.  It doesn’t even say Allah loves you ‘the most.’  

If you don’t read it over and over and take it on the surface it is probably fine, and I realize I might be overly harsh, but with only a single ayat at the end, I really wanted to feel that a child’s curiosity would be satisfied with this book, and I think it ultimately fell short for me and my children.

Ultimately, despite all this, I don’t regret buying the book from the wonderful Crescent Moon Book Store, and I will be buying the new one too inshaAllah.  I hope this review helps you to determine if this book is right for your toddlers and preschoolers.  

Watermelon Madness by Taghreed Najjar illustrated by Maya Fidawi

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Watermelon Madness by Taghreed Najjar illustrated by Maya Fidawi

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This 32 page picture book for preschool and up is silly and fun.  There is nothing Islamic in the text or illustrations by this Muslim author, but there is Arab culture as it mentions molokhiya and zaatar. The large 8.5 x 11 hardback book is wonderfully illustrated with detail, color and expression.  The playful font and text makes reading it fun and enjoyable for little ones, who will get the message, and laugh along the way.

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Noura loves watermelon. She eats it in the morning and in the afternoon and in the evening too.  At dinner she doesn’t want to eat her chicken, rice and molokhiya, she just wants watermelon. 

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That night after dinner she sneaks to the kitchen, sees a huge watermelon on the table, and decides to take it up to her room to enjoy all by herself.  She puts the watermelon under her bed, and dreams wonderful watermelon dreams.

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The watermelon gets bigger and bigger, and there is a door! She goes inside the watermelon and eats until her hearts content.  But as she gets bigger, the watermelon gets smaller.  She is trapped and her tummy is hurting.  

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Her mother rushes in to find a watermelon under the bed and Noura screaming from a bad dream.  Resolved to deal with the magic watermelon in the morning, Noura goes back to sleep having learned her lesson (without being reprimanded), and happily eats her breakfast of a fried egg and zaatar.  

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The book concludes with some information about watermelons and info about molokhiya and zaatar.  

The Green Dinosaur Umbrella: A Hajj Story by Amina Banawan illustrated by Rania Hasan

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The Green Dinosaur Umbrella: A Hajj Story by Amina Banawan illustrated by Rania Hasan

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This 36 page Hajj story covers the steps of Hajj by following a green dinosaur umbrella as it gets passed around to those that need it more than the person who currently holds it.  A great story for ages 4 to 8, the large 8.5 by 11 colorful pages-full of diversity, kindness, and bits of information help inspire and amuse our little Muslims.

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Ibrahim is getting ready for hajj and picks out a green dinosaur umbrella to take to Makkah.  When he gets separated from his father while making tawaf, it his umbrella that his father sees to find his grateful son again.

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Outside Ibrahim sees an old man sitting in the hot son and gives him the umbrella realizing the old man needs it more that he does.  The old man takes the umbrella to Mina and makes dua’as for the generous boy at Arafat.

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When a tour leader comes around to hand out water and juice, the old man determines that he needs it more than he does and passes it on.  The leader carries it toward Jabal Ar-rahma and Muzdalifah.  He is awoken from his sleep by two men arguing and uses the dinosaur to defuse the tension.

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The next morning he sees a mother carrying a young child and gives her the umbrella as the rain starts to come down.  She and the baby are kept dry as they go to throw their pebbles as the jamarat, and kept them dry as they walked back to Mina.

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After they trim their hair and prepare for Eid, she sees a little girl looking sad and gifts her the green dinosaur umbrella. After performing the Sa’ee, her father offers to take her to feed the pigeons and she runs off forgetting the umbrella, as it rolls under a book shelf of Qurans.

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After making his farewell Tawaf, Ibrahim goes to get a Quran for his father and finds his special umbrella peeking out from under the shelves.

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A beautiful fun book that shows the steps of hajj for even the little ones to enjoy all while teaching lessons about generosity, selflessness, and worshipping Allah swt, alhumdulillah.

Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures by Trisha Springstubb illustrated by Elaheh Taherian

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Khalil and Mr. Hagerty and the Backyard Treasures by Trisha Springstubb illustrated by Elaheh Taherian

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This 32 page book for ages 5-8 is a perfectly presented story about inter-generational and intercultural friendships.  Big on sentiment and heart while keeping the text short allows the compassion the two friends have for each other and their actions of showing how they feel toward one another speak volumes.  The illustrations appear to be cut paper and add to the thoughtfulness that the story presents.

Khalil and his family live upstairs and are noisy.  Mr. Hagerty is quiet and lives downstairs.  The two bond over their love of the back yard.  While Mr. Hagerty works in his garden, Khalil hunts for bugs and rocks and treasure.

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When Khalil doesn’t know a word, Mr. Hagerty teaches him.  When Mr. Hagerty can’t remember a word, Khalil helps him.khalid

That summer it is hot, really hot.  The carrots are all shriveled, and Khalil can’t dig the hard earth for treasures either. So the two decide to have “refreshments,” which means chocolate cake and milk.

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That night, the two friends separately plot to cheer the other up.  They put their plan in to action and, no I’m not going to spoil the sweet acts the two do for each other.  But it is clever and sweet and all the things that make a feel good story stick with you and remind you that age and culture and color are nothing when two people open their hearts to learn and grow.

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There is no reason anyone casually reading the book would think that Khalil is a Muslim, and who knows maybe he isn’t, but the name Khalil caught my attention and the author’s dedication is to a Khalil, Muhammad, Fatima, and Adam.  So yes, I totally am claiming it.  Even if it isn’t, the old white man, and the young boy of color bonding is a great message in-and-of itself that we need to see more of in literature and real life.

 

Alya and the Three Cats by Amina Hachimi Alaoui illustrated by Maya Fidawi

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Alya and the Three Cats by Amina Hachimi Alaoui illustrated by Maya Fidawi

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This sweet 32 page book is the purr-fect way to introduce the arrival of a new baby to toddlers and preschoolers.  Instead of siblings preparing for a new arrival, it is three very different cats that need reassurance that there is enough love to go around.

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Minouche, Pasha, and Amir live with their humans Myriam and Sami, and life is good.  Minouche likes to hide, Pasha is regal, and Amir the Siamese is very curious.  One thing they all have in common though, is they like to curl up on Myriam’s belly.3cats1

And her belly is growing! They are finding it harder to fit, and it even moves. Then one day Myriam and Sami leave early in the morning without even saying good-bye.

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Finally she comes home.  She is carrying a basket and disappears in the room without even acknowledging the cats.  The cats sneak in and see a funny little creature that squeaks.

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Grandma steps in to assure the curious little cats that there is enough love for the new baby, Ayla, and them.  Feeling confident, the proud cats take on protecting their little human and the family full of love.

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There isn’t anything Islamic in the book, but it definitely is culturally rich in the names, illustrations and the author is Moroccan.

The sweet book would be a great way to get siblings comfortable with a new one on the way and let them talk about how the cats thought, felt, and handled the change.  Even children not about to have a new addition will find the silliness and sweetness entertaining and enjoyable.  The pictures are gorgeous and fun and the text and presentation perfect for bedtime, story time, and anytime.

 

 

My First Muslim Potty Book by Yousfa Janjua illustrated by Golnar Servatian

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My First Muslim Potty Book by Yousfa Janjua illustrated by Golnar Servatian

07041C66-B149-48A8-9CC7-B2752984EE68I’m not sure why this book is just coming out now and why I never realized how important it is.  It sounds silly, but we as Muslims are very precise about our bathroom habits and cleanliness and the fact that this is the first book to address it for children is actually, kind of surprising.  But Alhumdulillah, you only need one if it is done well, and over 16 pages of cute illustrated rhyme filled pages, istinja is explained and normalized.  The book is a great tool to use, not only, when potty training toddlers, but also for reviewing with your preschooler when they might be leaving home for the first time and/or seeing other people’s bathroom habits.

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The book starts out with a thorough “Note to Parents” explaining istinja, tahara as well as giving parents some tips to handle potty training in general.  The book starts by noting how you started out as a baby and are now growing and part of the growth has you ready for big kid underwear.

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It talks about what it feels like when you need to go, and how when that feeling happens, you need to hurry to the bathroom.  If you hurry and still have an accident, we (the parents) will clean it up and not to worry.

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The book teaches that you enter with your left foot, and ask for help if you need it.  That you sit down to do your business because poop and pee are najis, impure. You then have to do istinja, which is like a germ fighting ninja!

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It teaches the toddler to call for mom or dad to wash them with the lota or bidet or pot using their right hand to pour and their left to wash.  You then use toilet paper to dry.  After you flush, you wash your hands for 20 seconds, leave with your right foot and be done.

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The book then has a glossary, some ayats of Quran and some Hadith as well as Duas relating to the bathroom.  The 8×8 hardback book is done really well and conveys the key points on a kid’s level, which is great.

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I love that the book uses Islamic Arabic words and shows a diverse family being patient and encouraging.  I am fine with the child illustrated as reading a book while on the toilet, but I think some parents might frown on that.  The book is meant for Muslim kids, and does a good job of showing the practicing family in the illustrations and in the text.

Thank you to Crescentmoonstore.com for their great price and service!

 

Go On, Zap Shaytan: Seeking Shelter with Allah by Razana Noor illustrated by Omar Burgess

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Go On, Zap Shaytan: Seeking Shelter with Allah by Razana Noor illustrated by Omar Burgess

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In rhyming couplets spread out over 32 pages with adorable illustrations, this book is a great introduction to the whispers of shaytan that encourage us to be naughty, and how to counter them without frightnening young listeners.  Meant for preschool age children and up, this is the second book by the author discussing an important religious concept in an easy to understand manner (the first book was about Kiraman Katibinthat empowers children to make great choices and find strength in doing so, even when mistakes are made.4CB95EFD-0B5A-4725-B110-4361E48CD9A4

The “Note to Parents” at the beginning provides great framework for the takeaway message of the book.  That yes, shaytan whispers to us and we will make mistakes, but the power is ours to overcome such temptations and inshaAllah do good.

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The book starts out a bit shakey for me as the rhyming is a bit off on one page, and the blame for the little boy with the great hair’s naughtiness is blamed solely on shaytan.  As a former teacher, this is always a tricky concept when trying to teach children to take responsibility for their actions, but then knowing full well that shayateen are real too.

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Once the flip side, of how to protect yourself from shaytan, starts: by saying aoudhu-billahi minashaytanir rajeem, bismillah, salam, reading Quran, calling athan, etc.. the book flows really well.

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I love how much information is conveyed about the jinn and their purpose and how they cower and put their fingers in their ears to not hear the praise of Allah swt.

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There is a glossary for the Arabic words and Islamic references, some kids might need some additional understanding about jin and responsibiltiy, but a solid book that I have read over 20 times to my 4 year old in the last week, alhumdulillah.

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Thank you again to Crescent Moon Storefor their incredibly quick fullfillment of the order.