What We’re Reading

As my child grows, I notice his interest in non fiction is increasing which is good as it helps develop his curiosity while at the same time it helps him find answers to the many questions he has about the world around him. We still read a lot of fiction of course, especially at bedtime. This month, we have been reading lots of poems rhymes as well. In addition we have been reading a lot of stories from the lives of the Prophets. Last month we read about Prophet Nuh (Noah). This month we are reading about Prophet Musa (Moses).  

So here a few of the books we have been reading: 

book cover for tell me about musa

photo sourced from Goodword Books

Tell Me About the Prophet Musa by Saniyasnain Khan. Goodword Books, 2003. 56 pages. ISBN 8187570482  

This book is a fascinating look at the life of Prophet Musa using photos, maps, pictures of relics and captivating narration. It is great for Islamic studies lesson or just for general reading and discussion. A list of ayat of Quranic references is included at the end.  

Other titles in the series are Tell Me about Prophet Yusuf, Tell me About Prophet Muhammad, Tell Me About the Hajj, and Tell Me about the Creation.  

book cover of "Magic School bus Plants Seeds"

photo sourced from amazon

 The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds.  Scholastic, 1995. ISBN 0590222961 

Part of the Magic School Bus series, The Magic School Bus Plants Seeds is a book about how living things, especially plants, grow. My son likes the cheerful faces of the inquiring children in the pictures as they learn from their teacher all about what plants need to grow. Readers also learn about the parts of a flower (anther, stamen etc.) as they shrink and go on a journey into a flower. This book is a fun and informative read. 

  book cover for "Read Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young"  

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young selected by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by Marc Brown. Alfred A. Knopf, 1986. 98 pages. ISBN 0394872185  

This is a collection of over 200 short poems and rhymes by both known and anonymous English and American poets and authors. My child enjoys the poems about nature, animals and food. Some are silly rhymes while others make the child think. While these poems are not expressly Islamic we have managed to discuss how they relate to a Muslim’s life and Islam. Please note that there are just a handful of poems in this collection which refer to unIslamic practices such as Halloween, Christmas and Hanukkah which you can either chose not to read to your child or to read it and explain to your child that this describes the practice of people who are not Muslim. My child learned how to use an Index of first lines, a feature which could be found at the end of most poetry collections. 

  

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The Mothers of three Prophets (Book Review)

To continue the celebration of Women’s History Month, I present a review of the Mothers of three Prophets. This is a small book that children age 8 and up will enjoy reading on their own. (See here for the review I did for International Women’s Day) 

 

Let’s take a look at three mothers who played very important roles in the lives of their sons, sons chosen by Allah to be prophets. These women faced severe tests beyond the abilities of the average woman to endure. Each was inspired by Allah to be faithful, devoted and strong.


 

The Mothers of three Prophets contain stories that narrate the lives of three phenomenal women. They are: Hajar, the mother of Ismael (alyahis salam); the mother of Musa (alyahis salam) and Maryam, the mother of Isa (alyahis salam). 

These women are showcased not only because they were the mothers of three of Allah’s prophets but also because they were outstanding individuals. They possessed personalities, attitudes and approaches to life that we could all learn from. 

The stories are told in a way that a child of eight should be able to read on his/her own. But I think the significance of the stories may be better understood by children who are a bit older (possibly 10 and up). The concepts of sacrifice, obeying and submitting ones will to Allah are conveyed throughout the book. Ayat (verses) of the Quran are woven seamlessly into the narration while emphasizing the importance of the situations described. 

Apart from telling us the history of the prophets, this book is a tribute to all mothers and it teaches us how obedient we must be to Allah, despite hardship, fear of loss or being ashamed of ridicule. 

Talking points: The three stories in this book can be used as the starting point of a discussion among older children (10 and up) on the meaning of sacrifice and obeying Allah’s commands. Let students talk about characteristics they posses that reflect the characteristics of the mothers of the prophets and what they can do to develop such characteristics. The stories in this book are good for reading aloud as well to a group in the classroom or masjid. 

Title: The Mothers of three Prophets
Author: Jameelah Jones
Publisher: Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd.
Date: 1994 (reprint 2001)
ISBN: 189794022X
Age Group: 8 – 12 years