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Muslim Child: Understanding Islam Through Stories and Poems Hardcover – January 1, 2002


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grades 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 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4-6. Fictional scenarios stretched thinly over heavy morals introduce the challenges and blessings of being a Muslim child today. In the opening story, a young boy begins his predawn prayers only to fart, a ritual impurity that requires him to begin again. Instead, he goes back to bed--until his conscience propels him to do the right thing. Unfortunately, the lesson may be lost in the snickers, a problem with many of the scenarios here. Readers won't find out much about the everyday life of Muslim children either; Celebrating Ramadan (2000), by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith, does a much better job of describing that. But with adult help, they'll learn a number of terms and discover tidbits about Islamic scriptures and history, mostly from the many sidebars that accompany the stories. In a time when non-Muslim children are likely to be asking questions about Islam, this book does have some answers, and its scenarios can serve as springboards for discussion about Islam and religious tolerance. John Green
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Hardcover: 104 pages
  • Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0807553077
  • ISBN-13: 978-0807553077
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.8 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #897,825 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Having read Muslim Child, I really think it could be titled "Child". It's for anyone.
I've never seen a book that deals with issues of faith in such a way. As a Catholic I could completely identify with the feelings of the kids in the stories.
It really made me appreciate the similarities between our respective religions.
I think it's this author's best book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. It's informative, non-judgemental, and non-proselytizing. I was especially impressed that the authors managed to tell a series of situational stories from a child's point of view. My favorite was the one about the little boy who becomes separated from his parents at Mecca and finds shelter with a kindly old man. This book covers such topics as Muslim minority children having to choose between adherences to their religion, e.g. forgoing observance of prayer times and dietary restrictions for the sake of convenience and fitting in with the crowd. I could feel the self-consciousness myself when a little boy overhears his friends mistaken his mother for a ghost after being frightened by her veil, and the guilt when a young girl succumbs to temptation and devours the delicious candies that contain pork byproducts.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anila on February 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book is so informative and well-written it should be in every muslim house. However, this book is not only very good for muslim children, it is also an excellent book for non-muslim children to read and learn more about islam. It can be used as an excellent tool in a classroom to dispel any misconceptions non-muslim children may carry against their muslim classmates. They will be able to learn more about prayer, fasting, eid and other things that their muslim classmates and friends follow in their lives.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Bardsley on February 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am really excited to be reading this book with six year old son right now, and someday with my daughter too, because I want both of them to have understanding about the other people and faiths in the world around them. I want my my children to think about how other people think, in order to better form their own opinions and beliefs. I also want them to have kindness and understanding for their neighbors, and an appreciation for morality in every culture.

I thought that for your average American I knew a decent amount about the Muslim religion but three chapters into "Muslim Child: Understanding Islam Through Stories and Poems" by Rukhsana Khan I am realizing how ignorant I am. For example, I knew that prayer was one of the five pillars of Islam but I did not know that the first prayer, or Fajr, had to be done before sunrise. So at certain points in the year this can mean waking your whole family up at 4:30 AM, washing, praying, and then going back to bed. That really teaches kids about discipline and commitment! Another story we read was about a girl who was grown up enough to try fasting for Ramadan for the first time. It really made my six year old son and I both think about growing up, taking on new responsibility, and perseverance.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on April 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Written by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Patty Gallinger, and with sidebars by Irfan Alli, Muslim Child: Understanding Islam Through Stories And Poems is a selection of stories and poems designed to teach young readers about Islam. Muslim Child is emphatically not a proselytizing book, but rather an informational one, designed to show young people how Islamic children live, what they believe, and what the common practices of their faith are. A highly recommended and educational book for children everywhere, in an increasingly globalized world and in view of contemporary world events.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ann Marie Grumm on October 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
My favorite short stroy is the Black Ghost. The children run from fear of her and her young son is dreadfully embarrassed until the black ghost rescues one of the boys. Reaching out from under her black abaya, the mysterious woman is soft and gentle. The young boys confront their friend, "You never told us you had such a nice mother."

Children's Nonfiction
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Edward D. Ott Jr. on March 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I can only hope that this brilliant book helpd educate muslims and non-muslims about the true beauty of Islam.
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