Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Night of the Moon

Khan, Hena. 2008. NIGHT OF THE MOON: A MUSLIM HOLIDAY STORY. Ill. by Julie Paschkis. San Francisco: Chronicle Books. ISBN 9780811860628 [Suggested Grade Levels K-3]

Finally a fictional book about Ramadan and Eid that explains the holiday in a way that children can understand and enjoy. This beautiful, picture book features Yasmeen, a seven year-old Pakistani girl, and her family as they celebrate the month of Ramadan. Her mother explains the lunar calendar, and how the waxing and waning of the moon chart the progress of the holiday. She defines fasting and its purpose. Yasmeen loves Ramadan: watching the moon, eating special foods, and celebrating with her family and the members of her Mosque. The busy month ends soon and Eid is explained and presents are opened. It is a joyful time in their lives.

The illustrations are gloriously presented in a jewel tone palate: golds, blues, and greens. Paschkis was inspired by the art of Islamic tiles which she effectively uses to add an authenticity to her pictures. We see the children and their families vividly enjoying the festivities of this important Islamic holiday. We get to peek into the celebration of a holiday that is often misunderstood in the west and not only understand its basic precepts, but also experience the joy, reverence, service, and sharing that make up the elements of the month of Ramadan.

Read this book along with a non-fiction depiction of Ramadan. Discuss the differences between fiction and non-fiction. Which kind of book works better for understanding this holy month?

Other books for children explaining Ramadan:
Addasi, Maha. WHITE NIGHTS OF RAMADAN. ISBN 9781590785232
Whitman, Sylvia. UNDER THE RAMADAN MOON. ISBN 9780807583043

By Cay Geisler

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