Pin It
Monday, August 1st, 2011

Children’s Book Review: A Party in Ramadan

By
Ramadan-children's-book

A Party in Ramadan by Asma Mobin-Uddin and illustrated by Laura Jacobsen, is the perfect Ramadan book for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Centered around a child’s pony party during Ramadan, the book adeptly bridges both worlds through a mix of Muslim and non-Muslim characters.

 

Young Leena is not yet expected to fast during Ramadan, but she has chosen to in order to partake in the celebration with her family, especially her Auntie Sana who is coming over for iftar dinner on the first night. Leena is insistent about fasting even when attending her friend Amy’s pony party, despite her mother’s encouragement to participate in the celebration and forego fasting.

 

At the party, Leena’s mother introduces herself to Amy’s mom and explains that Leena is fasting. Leena feels a hint of embarrassment as Amy’s mom asks, “Not even water?” I appreciated this hint of how Muslim children juggle the precepts of their faith in a non-Muslim society that may not understand it. Her embarrassment is fleeting, and soon she’s off enjoying the party. At first, Leena thinks it’s no big deal to fast while the other girls are drinking lemonade. Then thirst sets in. When the cake is served, she feels even worse—a headache and fatigue overtake her and she must lie down in the other room. “Why did God have to make it so hard?” she thinks.

 

The book explains the feeling of fasting in a way children can understand—the fatigue, the thirst that dries your throat, the headache. However, Leena’s challenge during the party, which feels almost too difficult in the moment, is rewarded when she breaks the fast at iftar. Food has never tasted so good and she appreciates every morsel she puts in her mouth. Her mother even saved her one of her favorite puddings. When her little sister asks for some of her pudding, Leena is hesitant to share until she remembers how she felt about the cake at the party. She takes one more bite of pudding and gives her sister the rest. Fasting made her more thoughtful and more prone to sharing. Through a chocolate pudding and cake, the book expertly conveys to children the meaning of Ramadan—to be more thankful and grateful, to be more thoughtful of others and more reflective about your own actions.

 

The biggest reward is a visit from Amy’s family with leftover cake for Leena. The families sit down to dinner and a dessert of cake and baklava–a warm message of inclusion and community between a Muslim and non-Muslim family. The ending etches in children’s minds how pleasant and seamless interfaith relations can be. A final page gives readers a bit more color on the celebration of Ramadan and the meaning of wearing hijab, or head scarf.

 

Out of all seven Ramadan books we picked up this year, this book has become my four-year-old’s favorite. Although she may be a bit biased, as she tends to like all things cake and referred to it as the “birthday cake book” before she knew its name (even if there is no reference to a birthday but rather just a party in the book), the intricacies of the story and warmth of the message are what continue to draw her to the book and provoke her questions. Most of all, I love this book because rather than solely portraying Muslims and Ramadan, the book blends two worlds so harmoniously, just like we do in my own family.

© 2011 – 2013, Stephanie Meade. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Family History

Who knew that becoming a mother merged our histories of loss and grief

10 Best World Maps for Your Children’s Room

Because every little global citizen needs a map

All I Want for Christmas is Perfectly Bilingual Children

Why OPOL has been harder than we thought.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Stephanie is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of InCultureParent. She has two Moroccan-American daughters (ages 5 and 6), whom she is raising, together with her husband, bilingual in Arabic and English at home, while also introducing Spanish. After many moves worldwide, she currently lives in Berkeley, California.

Leave us a comment!

3 Comments
  1. CommentsGiveaway Goodness: Win the children’s book A Party in Ramadan | InCultureParent   |  Sunday, 14 August 2011 at 9:47 pm

    […] both Muslim and non-Muslim children alike. If you would like to read more about it, check out our review here: http://www.incultureparent.com/2011/08/a-party-in-ramadan/ (Please note we received the copy […]

  2. CommentsInCultureParent | 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan   |  Saturday, 20 July 2013 at 2:20 pm

    […] 1. A Party in Ramadan by Asma Mobin-Uddin is the perfect Ramadan book for Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Centered around a Muslim child invited to a non-Muslim child’s pony party during Ramadan, the book adeptly bridges both worlds through a mix of Muslim and non-Muslim characters, while explaining some of the excitement and rituals around Ramadan. You can read more about A Party in Ramadan here. […]

  3. CommentsA Party in Ramadan – By Asma Mobin-Uddin   |  Friday, 05 September 2014 at 11:26 pm

    […] incultureparent.com […]









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



A Children's Book for Raising Global Citizens

Every life is a story. It’s easier to understand someone when you know their story.

Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!
[…] Peru, 97 percent of newborns are breastfed, according to LLLI. In Culture Parent reported that 69 percent of Peruvian children are breastfed exclusively from birth to five months, and ou...
From Breastfeeding Around the World
Hi I was googling Islamic beliefs when I came across your post. We are American and our neighbors are from Pakistan I think. Our kids love playing together but their dad doesn't allow the kids to co...
From An Islamic Perspective on Child-Rearing and Discipline
Mother’s Day is the most perfect and accurate Occasion to express your Love and Gratitude towards Mothe...
From Holi Craft: Straw Painting
[…] Muslims fast for 30 days every year for Ramadan, which is one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan this year is happening during most of the month […...
From Ramadan: June 28-July 28
[…] Raising a Little Buddha – Part 1, InCulture Parent — Post by a Buddhist Minister about raising an enlightened child.  It starts with intimacy, communication, and community. [R...
From How to Raise an Enlightened Child — Part I
[…] Breastfeeding in Jordan, InCulture Parent — Not as restrictive as one might think. […...
From Breastfeeding in Jordan
[…] Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother, InCulture Parent – “The 2010 Mothers’ Index rates 160 countries (43 developed nations and 117 in the developing world) in terms of th...
From Best and Worst Countries to be a Mother
[…] Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids, InCultureParent — Interesting look at how our values impact our interactions with our children (babies in particular). […...
From Why Americans Value Independent and Competitive Kids
[…] Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon, InCulture Parent — a fascinating look at cultures in the Amazon where pregnant women have sex with more than one man as a means...
From Multiple Fathers and Healthier Children in the Amazon

More Multicultural Books, Etc.