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.
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 GreenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved