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Bashirah and The Amazing Bean Pie: A Celebration of African American Muslim Culture Paperback – May 29, 2018
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It is the end of the school day and the teacher is reminding the students that Monday is Culture Day and they need to bring a dish to share, over the weekend it is also Eid. Bashirah is excited that this is the first year she will get to make her own bean Pie with her Pop-pop who is going to teach her the family recipe.
At home Bashirah can't stay still as her mom puts on the finishing touches of her Eid outfit, she is so excited for all the fun about to happen.
Early the next morning the family all heads out to the Masjid for Eid Salat in their beautiful clothes.
After prayers its cooking and eating time as Bashirah and Pop-pop make the pies and enjoy a big meal as a family. Three generations make salat together, food is taken to the neighbors, and then the big reveal. All the desserts, including Bashirah's are served, and alhumdulillah it is delicious!
Back at school on Monday the teacher reminds them all that, "neither our languages or heritages make us better than anyone else. Allah looks at our good deeds." She quotes Surah Hujurat, ayat 13 "Oh, mankind indeed we have made you into nations and tribes, that you may know one another. Indeed the noblest of you in the sight of Allah (swt) is the best in conduct." And they all dive in to the delicious desserts including Bashirah's wonderful pie.
My only criticisms of the book are the margins and the amount of text on the pages. I have a hard time reading the book aloud to small groups as the margins are so small and run in to the binding. Also, some pages have one sentence on them, some have nearly a half a page of text. This disparity can be off putting at the start of the book to appeal to younger listeners and early readers.
The illustrations are warm watercolor complimentary pictures. There is nothing wrong with them, but I wish they were just a tad more defined and vibrant like the picture on the cover. I love the warmth they radiate, but a little more detail would give the listeners something more to look at on the text heavy pages.
All in all a great book that I am glad I own and can share with my own children and those in my community, now if I can convince someone to make me a bean pie I'll really be set, alhumdulillah!
Despite being roughly 1/3 of the American Muslim population, there is very little representation of African American and Black Muslims in popular culture. This beautifully-illustrated children's book highlights the distinctive African American Muslim culture, which fuses the faith with African American heritage.
I love reading this story to my little ones because it is one of the few existing pieces of literature that allows them to see their faith, race, and nationality featured. There is even a great recipe in the back.