Tag Archives: toddlers

Salaam, World by Samia Khan illustrated by Teresa Abboud

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Salaam, World by Samia Khan illustrated by Teresa Abboud

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This 26 page rhyming picture book starts out basic enough with salaam being said from various locations, but it digs a little deeper as the book progresses to explain what salaam means, and how to respond. A good introduction to the greeting of peace for ages three and up. The pictures are jungle animals testing out the word and the 10 by 10 size is sufficient for bedtime and in small groups. My picky critiques are I don’t like the font as I think it is hard for early independent readers to decipher when capitalized, words such as “catastrophic” and “salutation” are a bit advanced for the demographic, and I wish there was a bit more Islam in the book, but overall it is sufficient, and an effective tool to helping get little ones to say salaam.img_0246

“Salaam from above, salaam from below, salaam from the mountaintops covered in snow,” is how the book begins as a cat hanging from a tree and braving the elements offers his greetings. A donkey then asks us to hold up and explain what the word means.

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Salaam is defined as meaning peace in Arabic and a word that Muslims use that is like ‘hello’ only kinder. It is sending peace to those you say it to, and a show of respect. The animals say it to others before noting that you can say it short or long: Salaam or Assalamualaikum.

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The book then asks how to respond before teaching us to say walaikum-assalam and telling us not to be alarmed the next time we hear the greeting, but to return it and spread it.

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The Prayer to the Merciful for Little Ones by Saniyasnain Khan illustrated by Bindia Thapar

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The Prayer to the Merciful for Little Ones by Saniyasnain Khan illustrated by Bindia Thapar

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This 14 page board book is a prayer based on Surah Fatiha and explores the first few ayats with reflective and thoughtful duas.  It has soft muted illustrations of birds and nature on small 5 by 5 pages.  The idea of the book is sweet and soft that I can imagine reading it with a child in your lap after salat, or perhaps whispering into them at bedtime, but it really is a prayer for the parents to read.  Children might understand from the text that everything is from Allah swt and He is always with us and helps us, but because it doesn’t repeat those notions, I don’t think the message will stick. The vocabulary is not reflective of toddlers understanding, and really the comfort comes from them listening to a loved one’s voice not the text or pictures.  I have five kids, this book was purchased when I was pregnant with the first one, I don’t think it has ever willingly been picked up by any of them or sat through in the idyllic picturesque manner that a person with no children would imagine spawning from such a heartfelt book.  I hope I’m in the minority and other families have loved and appreciated this book as it was undoubtedly intended.

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The book starts with a complete english translation of Surah al Fatiha.  The next two page spread is entitled “Praise be to Allah” which is explored in the text of praising Allah for the blessing given and knowledge of Allah being close. The theme isn’t entirely on point, but follows the rhythm of duas: praising Allah swt and glorifying him mixed in with making your requests.

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“Lord of the Universe” is the next heading, followed by “The Compassionate, the Merciful,” “Master of the Day of Judgement,” “You alone we worship and to You alone we turn for help.”  The final section is “Guide us to the straight path.”

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The book came out in 2003, and I was ecstatic to see it available, however, there are now just better and more varied options available, that this one will once again be lost on my shelves.

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My First Book About the Qur’an: Teachings for Toddlers and Young Children y Sara Khan illustrated by Ali Lodge

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My First Book About the Qur’an: Teachings for Toddlers and Young Children y Sara Khan illustrated by Ali Lodge

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I had planned to review the Ramadan book in Sara Khan’s My First Book about series, but needless-to-say all of the board books in the collection look remarkably similar and the one on my shelf, that I thought was the Ramadan one is this one, the one about the Qur’an.  Rather than find another Ramadan book, I figured to just go with it, Ramadan is the month of the Qur’an after all, and the book is both informative and engaging for little Muslims.  The soft detailed pictures and sturdy binding introduce toddlers and up to the belief in Allah, the pillars, care for all creation and being good to one another.

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The book starts out stating the the Qur’an tells us in the beginning there was only Allah, and that He created everything.  His creations are as big as the heavens and the Earth and as small as the creatures we cannot even see.  He created the trees and mountains and the angels and jinn, as well as the people, He made us all special.

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Allah wants us to follow His rules and sent books and Prophets to show us how to act.  He wants us to be good to one another, to be thankful, to look after our world, and everything in it.  Allah wants us to worship Him alone and pray five times a day, fast in Ramadan, give money to the poor, and go for Hajj.

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He also wants us to have families and to get married and raise our children to be good Muslims, so that when we die we will go to Paradise.  The book ends with facts about the Qur’an and questions and answers that can help further the conversation, increase understanding, and encourage love for the holy book.

One Perfect Eid Day and No More Cake! by Suzanne Muir illustrated by Azra Momin

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One Perfect Eid Day and No More Cake! by Suzanne Muir illustrated by Azra Momin

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This lovely counting book celebrates the end of Ramadan and the festivities of Eid Al-Fitr by counting up to 10 and counting back down.  Over 24 pages of rhyming lines, adorable illustrations will bring the holiday to life as a group of children and a little white cat celebrate.  Aside from the title that for some reason I don’t love, the rest of the book is happy and festive and perfect for toddlers to preschoolers.

It starts with one month coming to an end, then henna cones and designs take over, before five pots and six trays of cake are prepared, decorations are hung, clothes are made ready and ten eager eyes watch the new moon rise.

Then ten sleepy cousins have to get up early for morning prayers with presents waiting, rotis are prepared before seven family members squeeze in the van. Friends are met at the masjid and coins are jingling as lunch parties are attended and fun-fair rides are riden. Two tired friends can’t stay away on this one perfect day, and no more cake.

I love the flow of the book, I’m not sure what the four henna designs are or what cousin doesn’t get a present and who doesn’t get to go for prayers, but little kids probably won’t over think it.  The little cat is delightful on each page and the book sets a marvelous tone of what one can look forward to and enjoy on this splendid holiday with friends, family, festivities, and food.

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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Five Pillars Just to Please Allah by Rabia Bashir and Amir Al-Zubi

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Five Pillars Just to Please Allah by Rabia Bashir and Amir Al-Zubi

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This adorable 8×8 board book for little Muslims is perfect for toddlers to Kindergarteners.  My one year old loves toting it around and looking at the pictures, while my 5 year old likes reading the book independently and lifting the flaps at the end to quiz himself.  I’m normally really against liftable flaps in board books, but thus far my little one hasn’t ripped them all off, so I’ll spare y’all my repetitive rant.

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The 10 pages of text are perfect to identify the five pillars to the tune of “Row, row, row, your boat” and get little ones familiar with the terms.  The illustrations give older kids something to discuss as they show diversity, the pillars in action and are bright, glossy, and engaging.

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The publisher’s website seems to have changed, it was preciousbees.com but now seems to be bismillahbees.com and song of the book can be found here: https://youtu.be/F2hHvDFSVz8

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I got my copy from Crescent Moon Store and can’t speak highly enough of their great customer service and selection.  

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The flaps at the end are fairly small which inshaAllah will extend their life.

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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!

 

Allah is Al Khaliq (The Creator) by Saba Ghazi Ameen

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Allah is Al Khaliq (The Creator) by Saba Ghazi Ameen

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This is one of the first books I got for my first unborn child nearly 14 years ago, and as I am now on my fifth child I only recently realized (thanks @Taleswithmimi) that I have never reviewed this beloved sturdy 10 page 6 x 4.5 inch board book.

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It starts by declaring and defining that Allah is Al-Khaliq, the Creator of all I see, it then, in rhyming verse lists some of Allah’s gifts as organized by colors.

Red, green, blue, yellow, orange, purple, white, pink and black, are presented in a fun, and playful way on two page spreads.  The fun illustrations and bright colors are well done and perfect size for little ones to take in.

The book was published in 2002 and is still relevant today.  I highly suggest it for toddlers to chew on and learn their colors from in an Islamic context.  That being said, any religious kids would be fine with the book, while it is Islamic fiction, any faith that acknowledges the Oness of a Creator, will not find anything more religion-specific in the book.

I love that there are tabs on the side to show the colors, and that there are NO FLAPS!  It’s companion book that goes over shapes in a similarly beautiful, Allah is Ar-Rahman (the Compassionate) but there are flaps.  Thin ones at that. Needless to say they were damaged or gone within days and four of my kids have never enjoyed them!

Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan illustrated by Saffa Khan

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Like the Moon Loves the Sky by Hena Khan illustrated by Saffa Khan

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This 40 page book of prose begins each stanza with “InshaAllah” and reads as a beautiful prayer from parent to child.  Each two page spread is filled with warm vibrant colors and illustrations that radiate love while complementing the slow pace the book is meant to be read with.D900B288-5527-4519-8EDF-EE830D3A464D

The book is clearly from an Islamic perspective, yet I think any religious family would find beauty in the book.  The author has a note on the title page that defines inshaAllah as meaning God willing in Arabic and explains how it is a common wish/prayer for people of other cultures and faiths as well.  She also explains that that each line is inspired by the Quran, but universal for people everywhere.

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Some of my favorites are:”InshaAllah you seek knowledge, reflect, and read, InshaAllah you speak truth and work for its sake. InshaAllah you have faith that won’t waiver or bend. InshaAllah you are kind to those most in need.”

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The illustrations show a family that at times wears hijab and at others does not.  It shows multiple generations, and diverse characters in terms of skin color and mobility.  The illustrations at first weren’t my favorite, but they definitely grow on you.

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Over all the story reads like a lullaby, and is soft and sweet at bedtime particularly.  The 10 x 10 size would make it work well in groups as well, and I could see it used to lull kids to sleep at nap time with great success for the youngest baby to early elementary.

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I Say Bismillah by Noon H. Dee Iput translated by Shera Diva Sihbudi

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I Say Bismillah by Noon H. Dee Iput translated by Shera Diva Sihbudi

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Another adorable board book teaching the concept of saying Bismillah to the littlest Muslims. The illustrations are really sweet, and the text large and playful on their 5.5 square pages.  The story is simple, but because there is a story, and the word repeated, it does just what it intends to do and shows Bismillah being said before you start something.  It is worth noting though, that it never articulates why you say it.

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In this 20 page story brother and sister, Nabil and Noura are about to eat some yummy cupcakes.  Noura forgets to say Bismillah and her brother Nabil reminds her.  They both say Bismillah and then Noura says it before she drinks her milk.  Proud of herself for remembering, Nabil praises her as well, and they both head off to play after saying Bismillah again.

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I like that the siblings encourage each other and no one gets in “trouble” for not saying it, but rather they are gentle in their approach and it comes not from a parent or authority figure but from one another.

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There are a few “games” sprinkled in on two of the pages: say the colors of the cupcakes, count the cups.  There is also the word Bismillah written in Arabic at the end along with the English transliteration, English meaning and two questions: can you say Bismillah, and when do you say it, to verify comprehension.

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Thanks once again to Crescent Moon Store (www.crescentmoonstore.com) for their fast and friendly service and great prices.  There are four books in the series and they carry them all.