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Summary: Yasmeen, a 7-year-old Pakistani-American girl, had always thought of Ramadan as a time filled with lots of parties and presents. This year, she is learning more and helping more as her family celebrates the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. At the end of Ramadan, Yasmeen celebrates with her community, but the best surprise comes on Eid, a religious festival after Ramadan. This picture book introduces children to Ramadan.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, anytime reading, family reading, early reader, read aloud book, remedial reader
Recommended Age: read together: 6 to 10; read yourself: 8 to 10
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Reading Level: 3.4
Age of Child: Read with girl who is almost seven years old.
Young Reader Reaction: Our daughter asked lots of questions, with many of them focused on the activities in the highly detailed illustrations. She liked searching for the moon, commenting as it changed shape over the course of the story.
Adult Reader Reaction: This is a beautiful book. The story is a wonderful way to introduce Ramadan for non-Muslims and the illustrations are exquisite. They not only complement the events of the story, but celebrate the cultural and religious traditions themselves.
Pros: This is an exquisite picture book that can be shared just for its pictures, as well as for its value in teaching children about Ramadan. Children of all walks of life will understand Yasmeen's joy and excitement in celebrating her faith and its traditions.
Cons: The emphasis in the story is on fasting (which is what will grab children's attention), as well as the parties. It isn't until the author's notes that you learn that during Ramadan Muslims are encouraged to "give to charity, perform good deeds, and offer special prayers." This is a minor thing in the story, but overall it seems to be a pretty important part of the tradition.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a beautiful book and should be in school and public libraries. It is educational, but told in a way that is accessible to children.
Educational Themes: Between the book and the Author's Notes, which also includes a glossary, you can talk about Ramadan and Islam. You can also draw out ideas for talking about the moon and its importance in many cultures.
Notes: Flesch Kincaid reading level 3.4
Literary Categories: Fiction - picture book, religion and philosophy, holiday
Date(s) Reviewed: September 2008
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