Muslim Child: Understanding Islam Through Stories and Poems

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This insightful collection of stories and poems is a child-centered introduction to Islam. In one story, a boy feels guilty when he short-changes his prayer. In another story, a girl buys candy she can't eat because it contains pork by-products.

A collection of stories and poems about Muslim children from a variety of backgrounds, focusing on the celebration of holidays and practices of Islam.

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Overview


This insightful collection of stories and poems is a child-centered introduction to Islam. In one story, a boy feels guilty when he short-changes his prayer. In another story, a girl buys candy she can't eat because it contains pork by-products.

A collection of stories and poems about Muslim children from a variety of backgrounds, focusing on the celebration of holidays and practices of Islam.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With eight stories about Muslim life from such places as the United States, Pakistan, Canada and Nigeria, Muslim Child: Understanding Islam Through Stories and Poems by Rukhsana Khan, illus. by Patty Gallinger, offers insight into the five pillars of Islam (belief, prayer, fasting, charity and pilgrimage to Mecca) and demonstrates Muslim presence around the globe. Throughout, sidebars by Irfan Alli explain Muslim terms and traditions; sayings from the prophet Muhammad punctuate the text. A pronunciation guide, a samosa recipe and instructions for making "Eid Mubarak" cards to mark the end of Ramadan round out the volume. (Feb.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
Many young children can identify with the trauma of being lost from their parents at a shopping mall or in a park and that is the point of empathy for Rukhsana Khan's story about the Muslim pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca. Mecca is crowded with hundreds of thousands of people. A little American boy tells the story of being lost in the midst of the throng and the kindly old man who helps him find his parents. Along the way, young readers learn about this important obligation of the Muslim faith. Congenial, touching, and even humorous stories describe Islamic beliefs as they are practiced by children in America, accompanied by definitions or explanations in the margins. There are several poems, a few short readings from the Quran, a craft and a recipe, as well as a guide to Arabic pronunciation and a timeline for the life of Mohammed. Soft black and white sketches illustrate the text. The stories are very accessible for Muslim and non-Muslim children, read aloud or independently. Several of the stories would be appropriate for school use as an introduction to cultural and ethnic diversity, including one about the difficulty of avoiding pork products as a Muslim in America and another about a Muslim child and his non-Muslim friend who come to understand and accept a mother who dresses head-to-toe in a flowing black robe. "A big black ghost!" said Danny; until the "big black ghost" climbed a tree to rescue Danny when he had climbed too high and pulled a lollipop from the pocket of her black dress. 2002 (orig. 1999), Albert Whitman,
— Karen Leggett
School Library Journal
Gr 2-4-Avowedly didactic, as its subtitle indicates, Muslim Child presents aspects of the daily lives of Muslim youngsters in various locales, including Canada, the U.S., Nigeria, and Pakistan. The child's-eye view substantially increases the likelihood that non-Muslim readers will be able to internalize and understand what the protagonists are feeling and thinking, even if the religious basis of those thoughts and emotions is unfamiliar. In one story, a young American Muslim grumbles about having to wake before dawn for morning prayer and then spends a good deal of his energy during the prayer trying to suppress a fart, which will render the prayer ritually unclean. In another tale, a Canadian boy is embarrassed to have his school friends see his mother in her full-body dress, with head and face coverings. The resolutions of these and the other stories are always positive and reinforce the beliefs that the children may have earlier questioned. For this reason, the text has a thematic similarity to fiction written for evangelical Christian audiences, an overlap that parents and religion teachers may choose to emphasize. Sidebars explain Arabic terms and aspects of Muslim belief and practice referred to in the stories. Devotional poems, selections from the Quran, and activities appear throughout. Soft, full-page pencil illustrations accompany the tales, and smaller illustrations are worked into the sidebars and stories. Though Khan's express purpose is to explain Islam to non-Muslim children, the most avid audience for this book may be American Muslim children excited finally to find stories with characters to whom they can relate.-Coop Renner, Moreno Elementary School, El Paso, TX Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Khan, a Canadian Muslim who has written about Afghanistan in The Roses in My Carpets (1998), now seeks to engage youngsters in learning about Islam and the everyday lives of Muslim children around the world for the purpose of teaching greater tolerance and understanding. In combining stories, poems, and activities with informational sidebars about religious practice and quotations from the sayings of Muhammad and the Quran, she has created a primer, a children's guide to Islam and its five pillars of faith. The eight short stories portray Muslim children in different countries, including the US, Canada, England, Pakistan, and Nigeria. "Lost at Hajj" features a Black child from New York City who is making the pilgrimage to Mecca with his parents. "Azeeza's First Fast" and "Jumbo Jelly Shoes" are about children's difficulties in meeting their religious obligations, such as observing the fast during the month of Ramadan or eating the proper foods. Other stories are about holiday celebrations or the history of Islam. The three poems are less successful, with their pedestrian language and overt messages of peace and harmony. Gallinger's pencil illustrations realistically depict the diversity of the children in the stories and focus on many cultural details. There is a chronology of Muhammad's life, a listing of the prophets, many who are also honored in Judaism and Christianity, and a pronunciation guide with transliterations and Arabic calligraphy. The earnest tone of the stories, coupled with the author's respectful inclusion of the phrase "peace be upon him" after mentioning any of the prophets, may be off-putting to some readers, but teachers, librarians, group leaders, and parents willfind this a very useful resource. (Nonfiction. 7-10)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807553077
  • Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
  • Publication date: 1/1/2002
  • Pages: 104
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 11.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

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