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Celebrating Ramadan – TEACH Magazine

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Originally published in TEACH Magazine, March/April 2024 Issue

Ramadan is a month-long period of fasting, prayer, and reflection. It provides an opportunity to strengthen family and community ties while gaining self-discipline, empathy, and spiritual awareness. In line with this, we have compiled a list of new and upcoming books featuring Muslim characters who embody these values, and with the month of Ramadan already underway, now is a great time to add these to your classroom or library! We hope you and your students find them helpful and inspiring.

Aliya’s parents are planning for their month-long fast during Ramadan and she wants to join them, but she’s too young. So Aliya takes it upon herself to fast in secret… which doesn’t last long! This heartwarming book is rich with facts about Ramadan festivities and reflects upon other ways to celebrate besides fasting, like performing acts of kindness.

Call Me Al by Wali Shah and Eric Walters
Orca Book Publishers (March 2024)
Grade Level: 4–7

Ali, a Pakistani immigrant, is an eighth-grader struggling to find his place in the world. As a way of dealing with expectations from his parents, social pressures, casual racism, and personal challenges, he turns to poetry to express his thoughts and emotions. In this poignant and socially relevant tale, readers will follow Ali’s growth throughout the Ramadan period as he learns to embrace his identity and find his true voice.

Four Eids and a Funeral Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé and Adiba Jaigirdar
Feiwel & Friends (forthcoming: June 4, 2024)
Grade Level: 9–12

Tensions still linger between Said Hossain and his ex-best friend Tiwa Olatunji, but when their beloved Islamic Center catches fire just before the upcoming Eid celebration, Tiwa is forced to reach out to Said for help. Together, they must navigate their complicated past to rally the community and save what’s left of the centre from complete demolition. Will their efforts be enough to bring about a happy Eid celebration and rekindle their friendship—or maybe even turn it into something more?

In this charming picture book, Noura is eager to head out on a moonsighting picnic with her family after dusk. The month of Ramadan is almost over and once the new moon is spotted Eid al-Fitr will begin, but if it stays hidden, Noura will have to wait one more day to wear her sparkly new dress. Will she get lucky and be able to find the moon? Noura’s Crescent Moon makes for a magical introduction to the joys and wonders of Ramadan and Eid. The end of the book also includes a glossary explaining relevant terms, including various types of foods as well as the Islamic lunar calendar.

This intriguing novel follows the journey of contemporary Muslim American girl Mahnoor as she captures an unforgettable tale of loss, hope, and resilience. Her Dadi (grandmother) has recently moved from Pakistan to live with Mahnoor’s family, but Mahnoor doesn’t have time to help her get settled; she’s in the middle of working on a documentary for her journalism class. The only problem? She doesn’t have a subject. But the more she talks with Dadi, the more she realizes her grandmother has an important story to tell.

Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr by Sara Khan, illustrated by Nadiyah Suyatna
words & pictures (February 2024)
Grade Level: K–2

Young readers can join Raya and her family as they celebrate Ramadan by baking cookies, doing good deeds in their community, playing games, and visiting the mosque. In this book, author Sara Khan draws on her experiences of celebrating Ramadan with her own daughter, also named Raya! Back matter includes fun activities like card-making, along with a quiz to help students learn even more about this important month.

Ramadan: A Holy Month by Malik Amin, illustrated by Debby Rahmalia
Golden Books (February 2024)
Grade Level: K

Ramadan Mubarak! This beautifully illustrated golden book helps young readers learn why Muslim families celebrate the holy month of Ramadan. Simple yet informative text showcases the celebrations, food, and traditions followed by modern families during this festival.

Ramadan Kareem by M. O. Yuksel, illustrated by Hatem Aly
HarperCollins (February 2024)
Grade Level: K–3

Ramadan Kareem showcases the diversity of Ramadan celebrations around the world. Through a combination of lyrical text and bright, energetic illustrations, readers will gain insight into many of the culturally specific practices that take place during the holy month, such as waking up early for suhoor (the meal eaten before dawn) and waiting to share iftar (the fast-breaking meal) with family at sunset.

A Ramadan to Remember by Marzieh A. Ali, illustrated by Najwa Awatiff
Soaring Kite Books (January 2024)
Grade Level: K–3

Zain’s favourite festival, Ramadan, has arrived. However, his family has moved to a new neighbourhood without a mosque or an Islamic school. As readers follow along with Zain, who is determined to find a friend to celebrate the holiday with, they will learn the true essence of Ramadan and the joy of sharing it with others.

Zahra Paracha, a Muslim teen at odds with her beliefs, runs away from home to New York. Anxious and guilty, she finds solace in visiting a local masjid, where she is welcomed by the loving Muslim community. In this empowering story, Zahra embarks on a journey of spiritual healing, self-love, and hope. But can she create a new home for herself with secrets from her past still haunting her?

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