Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Time to Pray

Addasi, Maha. 2010. TIME TO PRAY. Ill. by Ned Gannon. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. ISBN 9781590786116 [Suggested Grade Levels 2–4]

This first person narrative recounts a young girl’s first visit with her grandmother in the Middle East. Through her perspective, readers experience the sights, sounds, and flavors of grandmother’s home. She hears the muezzin at the nearby mosque calling Muslims to prayer five times daily. She watches her grandmother, Teta, wash for prayer. She enjoys Teta’s delicious cinnamon rolls and best upside down rice. After receiving a prayer rug and special cloth, she accompanies her grandmother to the mosque to practice her prayers. As the girl flies home, she wonders how she will know when to pray since there is no mosque near her home. Unpacking, she discovers Teta has sent along a special prayer clock as a gift. Ned Gannon’s oil paintings add richly patterned detail to this warm depiction of a child’s relationship with her grandmother. Text blocks appear on water stained paper that looks like aged parchment. English text on each page pairs with an Arabic translation. Backmatter includes an explanation of Muslim prayer times.

This beautiful picture book provides an opportunity for children who are unfamiliar with Muslim traditions to know more. Many children will relate to the experience of visiting grandparents who live far from their home and whose daily life contrasts with their own. This gentle picture book ties one child’s unique experience to a universal concept accessible to most children: family traditions are shared between generations.

Discuss family traditions before allowing children to write about or illustrate one of their favorites.

Other books emphasizing cultural traditions shared across generations:
Muten, Burleigh. GRANDMOTHERS’ STORIES. ISBN 9781846860119
Woodson, Jaqueline. SHOW WAY. ISBN 9780399237492

By Suzy Parchman

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