This year, the holy month of Ramadan will occur for Muslim people from April 13 to May 12, culminating with Eid al-Fitr on May 13. If you’re looking for books to celebrate Ramadan or just want to learn more about Muslim culture, here are some suggestions.
A Party in Ramadan
By Asma Mobin-Uddin
Illustrated by Laura Jacobsen
32 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781629798479 | Boyds Mills Press
Ramadan is coming, and Leena is excited. Although she is too young to fast every day during the Muslim religious festival, Leena decides to fast each Friday instead. When Leena receives an invitation to a party which happens to fall on Friday, she has a dilemma. She doesn’t want to miss the party, but she doesn’t want to miss fasting either. So Leena decides to go to the party, but not eat or drink anything at all. Later, she will join her family for the meal known as iftar, when the daily fast is broken. But when Leena, the only Muslim at the party, sees her friends enjoying fresh lemonade and chocolate cake, her stomach starts to growl and her head begins to hurt. Will she keep her Ramadan fast?
By Aisha Saeed
240 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780399544699 | Nancy Paulsen Books
Twelve-year-old Amal’s dream of becoming a teacher one day is dashed in an instant when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village’s ruling family. As punishment for her behavior, she is forced to leave her heartbroken family behind and go work at their estate. Amal is distraught but has faced setbacks before. So she summons her courage and begins navigating the complex rules of life as a servant, with all its attendant jealousies and pecking-order woes. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s increasing awareness of the deadly measures the Khan family will go to in order to stay in control. It’s clear that their hold over her village will never loosen as long as everyone is too afraid to challenge them – so if Amal is to have any chance of ensuring her loved ones’ safety and winning back her freedom, she must find a way to work with the other servants to make it happen.
Amira’s Picture Day
By Reem Faruqi
Illustrated by Fahmida Azim
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780823440191 | Holiday House
Just the thought of Eid makes Amira warm and tingly inside. From wearing new clothes to handing out goody bags at the mosque, Amira can’t wait for the festivities to begin. But when a flier on the fridge catches her eye, Amira’s stomach goes cold. Not only is it Eid, it’s also school picture day. If she’s not in her class picture, how will her classmates remember her? Won’t her teacher wonder where she is? Though the day’s celebrations at the mosque are everything Amira was dreaming of, her absence at picture day weighs on her. A last-minute idea on the car ride home might just provide the solution to everything in this delightful story from acclaimed author Reem Faruqi, illustrated with vibrant color by Fahmida Azim.
Baby’s First Ramadan
14 Pages | Ages 0-3 | Board Book
ISBN 9780744026597 | DK Children
Perfect for story time with little ones, this first board book introduces babies and toddlers to the holy month of Ramadan. From the first sight of the crescent moon in the sky, colorful lanterns and sparkly lights, beautiful henna designs, and favorite Ramadan sweets, to prayers at the mosque, family meals, and sweet dates after a day of fasting, all the elements of this wonderful Islamic celebration of the holy month are included. This classic first picture book for babies and toddlers has simple language and engaging, real-life photos that celebrate Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.
Deep in the Sahara
By Kelly Cunnane
Illustrated by Hoda Hadadi
40 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Paperback
ISBN 9780525645665 | Dragonfly Books
Lalla lives in the Muslim country of Mauritania, and more than anything, she wants to wear a malafa, the colorful cloth Mauritanian women, like her mama and big sister, wear to cover their heads and clothes in public. But it is not until Lalla realizes that a malafa is not just worn to show a woman’s beauty and mystery or to honor tradition – a malafa for faith – that Lalla’s mother agrees to slip a long cloth as blue as the ink in the Koran over Lalla’s head, under her arm, and round and round her body. Then together, they pray.
Fatima’s Great Outdoors
By Ambreen Tariq
Illustrated by Stevie Lewis
40 Pages | Ages 4-8| Hardcover
ISBN 9781984816955 | Kokila
Fatima Khazi is excited for the weekend. Her family is headed to a local state park for their first camping trip! The school week might not have gone as planned, but outdoors, Fatima can achieve anything. She sets up a tent with her father, builds a fire with her mother, and survives an eight-legged mutant spider (a daddy longlegs with an impressive shadow) with her sister. At the end of an adventurous day, the family snuggles inside one big tent, serenaded by the sounds of the forest. The thought of leaving the magic of the outdoors tugs at Fatima’s heart, but her sister reminds her that they can keep the memory alive through stories – and they can always daydream about what their next camping trip will look like. Ambreen Tariq’s picture book debut, with cheerful illustrations by Stevie Lewis, is a rollicking family adventure, a love letter to the outdoors, and a reminder that public land belongs to all of us.
Hannah and the Ramadan Gift
By Qasim Rashid
Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
40 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593114667 | Viking BFYR
It’s the first day of Ramadan and Hannah wants to be a part of this important month every way she can. But if she’s too young to fast, how can she observe Ramadan? By saving the world, Dada Jaan tells her. And so Hannah learns that by helping her friends and neighbors and by showing kindness and generosity, she can make the world a better place. The debut picture book by human rights activist and attorney Qasim Rashid tells a timely story full of warmth and heart about the observance of Ramadan and the power of good deeds.
My Grandma and Me
By Mina Javaherbin
Illustrated by Lindsey Yankey
32 Pages | Ages 4-8 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780763694944 | Candlewick
While Mina is growing up in Iran, the center of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart. At once deeply personal and utterly universal, Mina Javaherbin’s words make up a love letter of the rarest sort: the kind that shares a bit of its warmth with every reader. Soft, colorful, and full of intricate patterns, Lindsey Yankey’s illustrations feel like a personal invitation into the coziest home, and the adoration between Mina and her grandma is evident on every page.
Peg + Cat: The Eid al-Adha Adventure
By Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson
32 Pages | Ages 3-7 | Paperback
ISBN 9781536206807 | Candlewick
It’s Eid al-Adha, a very special holiday for Yasmina and Amir, who invite their friends Peg and Cat to check it out. After they all rock out with some singing, it’s time to head to the celebration, where there’s so much food waiting! Amir explains that an important part of celebrating Eid al-Adha is dividing the meat into three equal parts, one third to be shared with someone who has less. But with all three bowls of meatballs holding different amounts, they’ve got a BIG PROBLEM! Thanks to a balancing scale, a trip to a soup kitchen, and an unexpected visit to a housebound neighbor, Peg and Cat learn all about the concept of taking from where there’s more and giving to where there’s less. Even Cat discovers how awesome giving can be. Eid Mubarak!
Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Maker
By Zanib Mian
Illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik
224 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Hardcover
ISBN 9780593109212 | Putnam BFYR
Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar! Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?! But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country. . . . Could that possibly be true? Luckily, Omar’s enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life’s ups and downs. Omar’s funny, relatable narrative is the perfect answer to the call for both mirrors and windows to fill bookshelves with diverse stories.
The Green Bicycle
By Haifaa Al Mansour
368 Pages | Ages 10+ | Paperback
ISBN 9780147515032 | Puffin Books
Spunky eleven-year-old Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with her parents. She desperately wants a bicycle so that she can race her friend Abdullah, even though it is considered improper for girls to ride bikes. Wadjda earns money for her dream bike by selling homemade bracelets and mixtapes of banned music to her classmates. But after she’s caught, she’s forced to turn over a new leaf (sort of), or risk expulsion from school. Still, Wadjda keeps scheming, and with the bicycle so closely in her sights, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Set against the shifting social attitudes of the Middle East, The Green Bicycle explores gender roles, conformity, and the importance of family, all with wit and irresistible heart.
The Night Diary
By Veera Hiranandani
288 Pages | Ages 8-12 | Paperback
ISBN 9780735228528 | Kokila
It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders. Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together. Told through Nisha’s letters to her mother, The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for home, for her own identity . . . and for a hopeful future.
The White Nights of Ramadan
By Maha Addasi
Illustrated by Ned Gannon
32 Pages | Ages 7-9 | Paperback
ISBN 9781629798462 | Boyds Mills Press
Mid-Ramadan is a special time for families in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. These middle days are known as “the three whites,” because they include the day of the full moon, the day before, and the day after. It’s a time when children dress in traditional clothing and go from house to house collecting treats from their neighbors. When Noor sees the full moon rising, signaling the coming of Girgian, she and her brothers prepare for the fun. Together, they decorate the bags they’ll carry to collect the candies. But along with the fun, Noor remembers the true meaning of Ramadan: spending time with family and sharing with those less fortunate.
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