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Ramadan Paperback – September, 1996
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From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 3?An attractive companion to Mary Matthews's Magid Fasts for Ramadan (Clarion, 1996), set in America rather than Egypt. Hakeem and his family are the focus of Ghazi's description of the holiday?its origin, elements of celebration, and purpose. Though Hakeem plays a prominent role throughout, plot emphasis rests on ritual and events rather than on character development. The boy functions as an "everychild" whose matter-of-fact and heartfelt religious observations help to demystify a part of Islam for non-Muslim children as well as affirm an important part of the Islamic calendar for those who are believers. Ghazi's writing is clear and descriptive with Arabic terms sans pronunciation but described both within context as well as in an appended glossary. The picture-book format creates a warm and welcoming setting, one that beckons to readers and invites exploration. Rayyan's expressive watercolors complete the package with their effective utilization of Islamic stylistic techniques; many are reminiscent of those he created for Eric Kimmel's Rimonah of the Flashing Sword (Holiday, 1995). The artist's skillful juxtaposition of Islamic borders and panels as frames for American Muslim culture highlights the mix of a rich traditional heritage with late 20th-century realities. A good introduction to Dianne MacMillan's Ramadan and Id Al-Fitr (Enslow, 1994), and a fine first look at the richness of Islamic tradition.?Celia A. Huffman, Worthington Public Library, OH
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Ages 5^-9. The month of Ramadan, an Islamic time of fasting, feasting, sharing, and prayer, is seen through the eyes of young Hakeem. Along with his family, he watches the night sky to see the new moon that signals the beginning of the special month. For the next 28 days, the (presumably American) family will wake before dawn to eat a large breakfast, fast all day, and eat an enormous evening meal before heading to the mosque for prayers. Ghazi gives just the right amount of background information, along with interesting details (for instance, Hakeem cannot put anything in his mouth all day, so he is careful not to play so hard that he gets thirsty). Rayyan incorporates into his paintings Islamic symbols and architectural motifs, as well as a lively, ethnically diverse group of people. Highly recommended for most libraries. Susan Dove Lempke --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
The illustration was wonderful, so was the words. She understood everything, it helped her understand why mommy and daddy were fasting the next day and every day since.
When she asks me am I going to drink any coffee in the morning and I tell her "No" she says 'Oh yeah, you got a Damadan" Lol!
This book has explained it much better than I could to children!
I do have several criticisms of the text, some of which could be fixed in a new edition and others which could not.
The biggest problem which a new edition could not fix is the poor use of a fictional narration for a non-fiction text. Goodreads reviewer Jim Marsh wrote:
A non-fiction book that was altered to fit a fictive storyline, the addition of Hakeem and his family seem un-natural. While there are many important bits of information to be gathered from this book, and there are some strikingly beautiful illustrations within, I would have thought a lot more highly of it had they not tried to force these flat, almost anonymous characters in.
There is a helpful glossary at the end.
While there are many important details included, there is some omission and some misinformation. These could be fixed in a second edition.
Omissions/Statements Open to Misinterpretation:
In explaining the lunar calendar, to my mind it is essential to explain that the use of the lunar calendar means that a Muslim, if he/she lives 30 odd years as an adult, will fast Ramadan during all the different temperate zone seasons and that, depending on distance and direction from the equator, the length of day will vary. Now I'm hoping the author could come up with a less technical way of saying that. Perhaps the author could have put the child Hakeem into a specific season, such as North American fall, playing little league basketball after sunset. Then the parent could say something like, "My favorite sport was tennis, and when I began fasting, Ramadan was in the summer months, and I had to start my practice at 6:00 am before it got too hot and I could not play any tournaments." Then, the spouse could be from a sub-tropical country, like northern Nigeria, and she could say something like, "When I wrote to my parents explaining that the day in our city was 15 hours long, they wrote back saying, 'Ha'a, child, that makes no sense!'."
While Muslims may break the fast with a date, there is certainly no requirement to do so, and I'm sure most Muslims break the fast with whatever's available.
The description of the suhur meal is way too vast for the typical household. For example, this morning, I ate a peach, cantaloupe and cheese and drank water, and that was it. I don't think most families wake up one hour in advance to cook a full-blown meal at suhur. A similar point could be made about the description of the meal after sunset. Muslims in different places will eat according to their means and preferences.
The day begins at sunset.
The aya in the Qur'an mentioning the white and black thread is metaphorical, according to the interpreters I've read. I'm worried a reader might think a Muslim is required to have a white and black thread in hand to determine dawn.
There is a little bit of propaganda: "When the slaves were set free, most of them became Muslim themselves and helped to free other slaves."
Nobody looks for the moon on the 27th night. Every lunar month is 29 or 30 days. After the 29th day, people look for the moon. If they see it, the previous month ended the day before and they are now in the first night of the new month. Otherwise, the new month begins after the sunset of the day following that night. You never need to "return the next night." Whoever revises this book should become familiar with the rules of yawm al-shakk.
Fasting begins from dawn, not sunrise. This is the difference between the terms fajr and shuruuq.
Despite these inaccuracies, given the paucity of children's literature about Muslims and Islam, this is still good for public libraries and schools.
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Teachers/Librarians: Kindergarten - 6th, social studies/humanities.