Sunday, March 26, 2006

Books for muslim children

There are some books that I really loved reading to my children and the best thing about them was that they had muslim characters, which is very rare to find in your local library. Here are some books that we found in our local library that were about muslim families and/or cultures.

Muslim Child: Understanding Islam Through Stories and Poems by Rukhsana Khan - I cannot talk enough about this book. This is a great book for all muslim children. Actually there are many books by Rukhsana Khan that I love. Here are just a couple and you can see more on her website.

Silly Chicken - This adorable story is about a girl named Rani who lives in Pakistan with her mother and "Bibi" the hen.

Ruler of the Courtyard - Another story set in Pakistan about a girl named Saba who conquers her fears!

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq by Jeanette Winter – A very touching story that really shows the value of books.

Sitti's Secrets (Aladdin Picture Books) by Naomi Shihab Nye – I really loved this book. This is a lovely story about an American girl who visits her grandmother in Palestine.

Sami and the Time of the Troubles by Florence Parry Heide – This is about a 10 year old boy in Lebanon during wartime. It can be a bit dark and sad for children, but it really helps them to appreciate all of Allah’s blessings.

Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence H. Parry - This beautiful book is about a young Egyptian boy who travels the city of Cairo carrying a secret which he wants to share with his family that evening.

My Rows and Piles of Coins by Tololwa M. Mollel – Since I read this a while ago I don’t remember exactly if they mentioned the boy was muslim in this story but this is such a wonderful story about a young boy in Tanzania in the 1960s trying to save money to buy a bike.

The Color of Home by Mary Hoffman – Alright this book made me totally start crying while I was reading this to my girls and they started looking at me all worried but this really is a wonderful story about a young boy from Somalia named Hassan who recently moved to America and is very homesick.

There are many, many more that I haven’t had a chance to even read yet but you can see some more on Rukhsana Khan’s website in her Muslim Children’s Books section.

(April 5, 2006)
Recently I have read two more books that had muslim characters in it so I wanted to review them and add them to this list as well.

My Name Is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin - This was a good book. My daughter couldn't relate to it that well, probably because of her age and other reasons but she always likes to see books with women wearing hijab in it. This book is about a muslim brother and sister that start a new school and the sister is being teased because of her hijab. First the brother is embarrassed and does not even want to tell everyone his muslim name but instead Americanizes it. But of course finally he is able to stick up for his sister and himself. This is a good book for muslim children that are having difficulties adjusting to school and also non-muslim children so they can familiarize themselves more with islam.

Nadia's Hands by Karen English - This book does not mention islam at all nor does it say that the people are muslim. However it is about a Pakistani-American girl who is to be a flower girl at her aunt's wedding and she does not want to wear mehndi (henna) on her hands because she's worried about what people will say at school. All of the characters had muslim names but this story is more about pakistani culture so it's quite interesting if you want your children to learn more about that and it also has several urdu words in it as well. It also teaches children how important patience is when Nadia was waiting for her henna to dry. It was cute and my daughter enjoyed it because she loves to put mehndi on as well. :)


  1. Anonymous8:45 AM


    i got the link to your blog through umm zaynab.
    mashAllah,your blog looks great.
    jazakAllah FOR the info of this site

    umm s

  2. Thanks! I hope you find it useful. :)

  3. jazakAllah kheir for this sister. i will see if these books are available at our library inshaAllah..

  4. These books look great. Some of them I already know, but will definetly check out the others. I would love to see more Muslim books at libraries everywhere.
    I have some homeschooling questions for you and since I couldn't find a link to e-mail you on the site, I will post them here. Basically, so far I love the idea of home schooling my kids, but have some very real fears. Any help would be appreciated!

    1. How do you get them (as in the kids) to learn? Sometimes I have tried to teach my son (4 yrs old) things like even and odd numbers, phonics. He sometimes learns, sometimes wants to steer the topic in his own direction (eg. I am talking about one letter and he wants to do another) or expresses disinterest altogether. Everyone makes it seem so easy! Is there something I am missing??
    2. How do you teach different levels at the same time?
    3. I am afraid my weaknesses will become their weaknesses. I learned a lot of great things from my parents, but being in school enabled me to closely see different traits in other people that I admired and emulated. Isn’t homeschooling going to turn them into some kind of clone of me? I hope for them to better than that!!
    4. If I homeschool, it will be myself and my two daughters in the girls camp, and only my eldest a boy. Isn’t this too much estrogen for a boy? He will be surrounded by girls all day!! My husband is great, but he does work most of the time and comes home late.
    5. When in the day would I have some time for myself to recharge?

    Jazakum Allahu Khairan

  5. Lots of good questions, I’ll try my best to answer them one by one.

    1) Every child is different and will learn in different ways. I think you should read more about learning styles and find out the best way to teach him. As for me, my girls love to sit and read and learn letters and numbers and play school. They actually beg me to play school often and we start off with our hello songs and nursery rhymes and talk about what day it is and then get down to the curriculum. I know there are many books on this topic and websites as well. Here’s one I just found while doing a quick search:

    2) As for teaching different levels, I have not done that yet but I guess I would just have to time myself a little better and be more organized to get it all done. Right now my little one is 2.5 years old so she just colors or follows along with her 4 year old sister as much as she can.

    3) I have the same fears about homeschooling. What helped me a lot to dispel a lot of those fears was purchasing a pre-packaged curriculum. I know most homeschoolers do not do that and it can be a bit more expensive but it just helped me be a little more relaxed because I felt I had my bases covered. The curriculum I use, Calvert pre-k curriculum, is so easy to follow. The lesson manual tells you what to say to the child word for word. However, that curriculum is very easy for my daughter so I do supplement a lot and probably always will. I just feel like it gives me a good base to start with and then whatever extra I decide to do with her is just icing on the cake. She loves all of it anyhow, especially since it is so easy and fun. I don’t see her becoming a clone of me at all (except she’s turning into a bit of a neat freak like me) I see her as her own person, very different and actually a lot more confident and assertive than I ever was. I don’t push my ideas or feelings on her; I just answer all the questions she shoots at me to the best of my ability. I have also joined a local homeschooling group and I am an active member in my local Islamic center so she gets lots of exposure to different people all the time.

    4) There are lots of things you can do to put your son around other people his own age/gender if it worries you that he will be around women all day. I think it’s great that he will be and I am sure that he will really learn to respect and honor women. You can join any non-secular homeschool groups you may have in your area. You can also put him in local karate or swim classes if that is feasible. I take my children to my local library every week for storytime and they have made friends with the regulars that come there every week as well. There’s many ways to socialize children rather than just sending them to school.

    5) Schedules are so important in a homeschooling home if you want to keep your sanity! When you make a schedule for different subjects, make sure there is some time in there for mommy to relax, even if it’s only 15 minutes, it can help a lot. If your children are older then it is easy for them to understand and give that time to you while they read a book or work on an assignment. If your children are younger you can always schedule mommy time during naptime!

    Well I hope that helps a bit and I pray you have a fun and educational experience. Please let me know if you have any more questions.