Three Board Books that will Delight Young Ones! (Book Review)

Recently I reviewed a wonderful book by the company Smart Ark for children ages 4-8 that deals with recycling and our responsibility as Muslims to implement the three R’s. Today I want to take a look at three other books that I received from this company.     

The First Steps series comprises so far Made by Allah: Alphabet Book, Thank you Allah: Counting Book and Prayer Times: Book of Colours. These board books are perfect for introducing basic concepts such as the alphabet letters, colours and numbers as well as for introducing elements of Islam to very young children.     

The books are all made of sturdy recycled board so that they can handle little hands pulling and tugging (and maybe even chewing) them. The illustrations are simple, clear and vibrant. Two of them are written in simple rhyme. Here is a brief look at the books:  
Made by Allah Alphabet Book by Fehmida Ibrahim Shah (Smart Ark)

photo source: smartark.com/

 

 
“A is for apple, a healthy treat, Made by Allah, to enjoy and eat.  

   

B is for boat, that sails on the sea, Which Allah protect, and brings home safely.”     

Made by Allah: Alphabet Book uses each letter of the English alphabet to show children the variety of things Allah has given them; from food, toys, animals and even the day and night. Each letter appears on a page with text in simple rhyme and  an illustration.     

 

“One golden sun, rising as I say, Thank you Allah, for a beautiful day.     

Two pieces of toast, with strawberry jam, Thank you Allah, how grateful I am.”     

Thank you Allah: Counting Book will help young children learn to count from 1 to 10 while appreciating the many beautiful things Allah has given them. Again the use of simple rhyme and illustrations will capture the attention of young readers and their parents.     

“A Muslim prays five times a day. When we pray we face Mecca in Saudi Arabia….     

 

When we pray to Allah, we than Him for all the blessings He ahs given us….     

The Fajr prayer starts just before dawn and ends just before sunrise.     

Can you find these colours in the Fajr time picture?     

Blue Pink Beige”     

In Prayer Times: Book of Colours young children are given a very brief (and appropriate for their age) introduction to salah (or prayer) as they attempt to identify the colours in the pictures. The times and names of the five daily prayers are given in this short board book. As they read the book, children are asked to find a particular colour in the picture. In most cases the colours correspond with the colours you would find for that particular time of day (bright colours for the day and darker ones for evening and night). This book does not only introduces the young reader to the primary colours (red, blue, yellow) but to some secondary colours (green, orange, purple) and a wider range too (beige, peach, maroon).   

 
I think parents and teachers would be delighted to have these board books in their homes and classrooms (preschools) as the books provide young children(ages 2-4) with a wonderful introduction to the English alphabet and numbers and salah. To help young children learn Arabic numbers and alphabet take a look at the posters designed by the company. For more information on these books and other products produced by Smart Ark check out the website http://smartark.com/

A Trust of Treasures (Book Review)

A Trust of Treasures by Maehded Maryam Sinclair

image source: amazon.com

 

Long ago, the universe was humming praises for its Creator,
But there was no one to stand still and listen, and say “Ahhh.”
The stars were whirling and glittering in the night sky,
But there was no one to be dazzled by them and discern their patterns.
The moon was waxing and waning in its orbit,
But there was no one to measure its phases or count their days by it… 
     

A Trust of Treasures is as much pleasure to read as it is to look at. Children and adults alike will be mesmerised by the poetic narration and vivid images. It is a beautiful, subtle reminder of the responsibility that human beings must have toward the world in which they live.      

Mehded Maryam Sinclair takes the reader on a journey through the universe where we see all the beautiful creations of Allah (referred to in the book as “The Power of the One”) at work and in motion. From the solar system to the depths of the sea, from the fields of wheat to the dry desert where little grows; the ants, the sheep, the bees; everything living according to the Creator’s plan. Then we are told that Adam (the first man) and those after him were created not just to praise and remember the One, who created the world; but to care for, respect and responsibly use what they have been given.      

As the book is a feast for the eyes, the storytelling (available separately on audio CD) is a feast for the ears. The story is told with such beauty it leaves an indelible impression on the listener whether child or parent. Listen to the story here.      

While A Trust of Treasures is a great reminder of the beauty and resources of the world that Allah created for us to find happiness and sustenance in, the writer does not show us how much human beings have failed to take care of it; how the treasures have been exploited. Perhaps, such a description is not needed since the evidence of the destruction that we have caused is everywhere around. In fact, it is reassuring to read, listen and be reminded of the beauty of this world as it once was, of the power of the Creator and of our need to be thankful for all that we have been given.      

A Trust of Treasures is definitely a book you will want to add to your home library collection and makes a wonderful gift to give as well. It is also a good addition to the collections of school and public libraries. In the classroom children can listen to the telling of the story after having read the book.     

Title: A Trust of Treasures (also available separately in audio CD)
Author: Mehded Maryam Sinclair
Illustrator: Angela Desira
Publisher: The Islamic Foundation
Date: 2008
ISBN: 9780860374626
Reading/Listening Level: Read Aloud/Listen: any age; Read on Own: 5+      

Also by this author is the book, Miraculous Happenings in the Year of the Elephant. This story along with The Bowing of the Stars (Story of Prophet Yusuf) and A Mercy to the Worlds (Story of Prophet Muhammad) are stories written and narrated by the author, who is also a trained storyteller, and are available on audio CD. Listen to samples of these stories at the author’s blog and website.  

Poem for the Day: Allah Made Me!

Allah Made Me!

 

Hajra asked Red Parrot
who made thee?
It replied singingly
Allah made me!

Hajra asked Grey Elephant
who made thee?
It replied roaringly
Allah made me!

Hajra asked Green Frog
who made thee?
It replied quakingly
Allah made me!

Hajra asked Maroon Monkey
who made thee?
It replied jumpingly
Allah made me!

Hajra asked Yellow Giraffe
who made thee?
It replied nodingly
Allah made me!

Mommy asked Hajra
who made thee?
Hajra replied lovingly
Allah made me!

by Rahim Akbar

SOURCE: IslamicPoetry.org

Allah Created Everything (Book Review)

Today (April 2) is International Children’s Day. Since 1967, International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) has been celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.

There are wonderful children’s books being published around the world. ICBD is a good time to make a point of sharing books originally published in other countries with your children. Go to your local library to check out some multicultural books or spend time with your child reading a book in your native language.

You might want to look at the International Children’s Digital Library. It has a large database of children’s books in various languages, cultures and themes from around the world which you can read online.

To celebrate this day I wish to share with you a beautiful book called Allah Created Everything.


The Blades of Grass
The Oceans and Seas
The Rocks –
The Soil –
The Beautiful Trees,
The Majestic Mountains that we See,
Allah Created Everything.

Allah Created Everything is a book for young readers that contains beautiful illustrations that compliment a poem written by C. Alta. The pictures are clear and expressive and give the young child and parent a lot to talk about.

Not only are the wonders of Allah’s creations depicted but in its closing, children of all nationalities are shown holding hands around the globe of the earth and the following words remind us of how we are alike:

People of the World,
Shapes –
And Colors we See,
Allah Created Them
Just Like You and Me.

This book makes a wonderful addition to a home or school library.

Title: Allah Created Everything
Author: C. Alta
Illustrator: Ray Hecita
Publisher: Amica International
Date: 1994
ISBN: 1884187099
Age Group: 3 – 4 (Read Aloud); 5 – 7 (Read on own)