Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Multicultural Picture Books on Ramadan

Around the world, Muslims have begun to observe fasting during the Islamic month of Ramadan. The next four weeks  will include resisting food and water from dawn until sunset, as well as tempering one's lifestyle to be more reflective, charitable, and understanding.

To celebrate this annual experience, here are two recent picture books that convey the rich messages of Ramadan and contribute to the dearth of diverse literature that exists for children, but need only be sought.

Under the Ramadan Moon, by Sylvia Whitman (2011).
The lyricality of this book makes it stand out, and its repeated verses mirror the importance of ritual and tradition that highlight a single day of Ramadan, including waking up before dawn to eat and pray, and breaking fast among family and friends. It serves as an artful introduction to Ramadan.

White Nights of Ramadan, by Maha Addasi (2008)
I reviewed this book earlier this year for the SDSU Book Reviews. For now I will say that the lush colors bring to life a culturally specific holiday (from Kuwait and other Gulf countries) that occurs midway through Ramadan -- Girgian. It's festive and thoughtful, and does a great job of capturing the spirit of month.

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