Kindness to Animals: Storytelling video

Life’s happenings have been keeping me away from the blog. With just a brief bit of time on my hands I thought I would share with you the wonderful piece of storytelling I came across recently. The video shows sister Amal Ali telling stories of the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) kindness to animals. Children listen on as she tells them a story of the man and the thirsty dog. The storytelling event took place some time last year in the U.S. and was organised by the IQRA International Educational Foundation.

A great video to share with children. Listen:

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Books about Ants in Islam (Book Review)

Ants on Leaf by Aarthi flickr CC

photo by Aarthi (Flickr - Creative Commons)

 

 The dry scorching heat has driven many ants inside. They are all over the apartment but can be found especially crawling on the kitchen floors. My son likes feeding them with crumbs from his plate. In the bathroom they bravely seek a drink from the tub of water that is sitting to cool.    

As simple as ants may be, their presence in our home has encouraged my son and I to talk about many things from the science the ants (how they live, what they eat, the parts of the ant) to the place of ants in Islam; there is a surah named An-Naml (The Ants), the story of Prophet Suleiman’s ability to hear the ants and the Prophet Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) mercy to the ants approaching the fire.    

Here are three entertaining books that bring the world of ants in Islam into the lives of children:

image source: goodwordbooks.com

 

 The Army Walks Through the Valley  is a short and simple story of the Prophet Sulayman’s ability to hear animals communicate; one of these being ants. Young readers will find the illustrations appealing as they learn about the incident when Prophet Sulayman and his army were travelling through the valley.    

 Title: The Army Walks Through the Valley    

 Author: Saniyasnain Khan   

 Publisher: Goodword Books    

 ISBN: 8178981629 (paperback); 8178981610 (hardcover)   

 Reading Level: 3-4 years (Read Aloud); 4-6 years (Read on Own)    

Amr adn the Ants book cover

image source: islamicbookstore.com

 

Older children will learn more about the science of ants and being kind to animals in  Amr and the Ants. Amr is fascinated by the ants in his front yard but is shocked when another boy finds delight in squashing them with his shoes. As the story progresses Amr learns more about ants in Islam from the stories his parents tell him and from doing research. He even decides to keep an ant farm.  This book is part of the Young Muslim Nature Series which includes Ali and the Spider and Maryam and the Trees.    

Title: Amr and the Ants    

 Author: Rowaa El-Magazy    

 Publisher: Islamic Foundation    

 ISBN: 0860373304    

 Reading Level: 6 – 10 years    

image source: islamic-foundation.com

 

Love all Creatures is a collection of stories based on hadeeth about the way in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) was caring and merciful toward animals. The first story in this book is titled “The Little Ants.” It tells of how the Prophet saved a colony of ants from the heat of a nearby campfire.  

Title: Love All Creatures    

Author: M. S. Kayani   

Publisher: Islamic Foundation   

ISBN: 9780860370772   

Reading Level: 8 – 12 years

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.  

What We’re Reading

  

Allah bless us with spring image

Designed by Easel & Ink

In certain parts of the world its spring and while my son has never witness the transformation that happens at such a time of year we talk about it. And of course, we read about it. That is the beauty of books. It can take you anywhere and describe to you what is happening there. 

So our journey into the spring season came to us courtesy of these two books: 

To Catch a Bug by Nabeel Akbar, illustrated by Anam Ahmed. Kids Will Be Kids/Kube Publishing, 2007. Fiction. 16 pages. ISBN 9780980938210. 

To Catch a Bug

photo source kidswillbekids.org

 

It’s not the pretty flowers that catch my eye.
I’m looking for spiders, bugs and maybe a butterfly.

InshaAllah, I think I’ll try and catch one today.
Then I’ll show mom, I wonder what she’ll say.
 

Of course I’ll be careful when catching the insect.
It’s important to show all off Allah’s creatures respect.
 

Young children will enjoy following the little girl as she explores the garden and collects insects of all shapes and sizes. What child is not fascinated by things that crawl, creep and fly? But how many parents will indulge a child and let them bring such creatures into the house? Mummy’s surprise at finding the bug collection will bring smiles to parents and their little loved ones. All seems to end well when there is an agreement to bring no more bugs in the house until the little girl finds something else to collect. 

We liked the book because of the short rhyming sentences and the bright illustrations. We admired the plants in the garden, talked about the places where each bug was found and who created them all. This picture book is just simply a delightful read. Good for reading aloud to three to four old children. Children 5 to 6 years should be able to read it on their own. 

The small, small seed by Judith Nicholls 

A Small, Small Seed by Judith Nicholls. Ladybird Books, 2004. Non Fiction. 14 pages. ISBN 978-1844224227. 

The repetition and the textures of this short book interest the child’s senses as he learns how a seed grows into a beautiful sunflower. The book incorporates textures into the illustrations providing an interactive reading experience. Readers can touch and feel the seed, the roots, the shoots, the leaves all the while witnessing the transformation of the seed and the growth of a new plant. The last page folds out to reveal a tall sunflower. 

We liked this simple book because there was a lot to see and touch. Use this book as part of your lesson plans relating to the life cycle of a plant and the growth needs of a plant. We had fun making our own tall sunflowers to decorate the room by simply cutting out petals, stems and leaves from card stock paper and decorating the centre with sunflower seeds! 

And there is a whole range of other books about spring just waiting for you at your local library. Why don’t you check one out today?