CriticasA Moroccan immigrant living in Paris, Jelloun is a regular contributor to several European newspapers, including Le Monde (France), La Repubblica (Italy), and El Pais (Spain). Among other prizes, he received the United Nations Global Tolerance Award for Racism Explained to My Daughter (1999). Written as a direct response to September 11, a day when Jelloun's 10-year-old daughter felt that she no longer wished to be a Muslim, this timely new book explains the Islamic religion to youngsters, emphasizing tolerance and understanding of all faiths. Jelloun recreates a conversation with his daughter held over a period of nine days, as he responds to her questions about Islam and shows its similarities to the Jewish and Christian faiths. Although he mostly succeeds in making the information comprehensible to young readers, this structural device seems forced at times, as when the "child" asks unlikely questions just so Jelloun can explain a term or idea. Parents and teachers should note that Jelloun writes from a European point of view, commenting on U.S. foreign policy mistakes (although not saying that they justified the attacks) and Americans' lack of interest in other cultures. Regardless, this book is an important tool for those who wish to teach young listeners about Islam. Recommended for bookstores and public and school libraries serving advanced Spanish readers.
Tim Wadham, Maricopa-Cty. Lib. District, Phoenix, AZ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.