Contest for young writers/poets and new books: An Ummah Reads roundup

For those readers living in the United Kingdom: The Young Muslim Writer Award 2011 is now accepting entries of short stories and poetry from children and teenagers. This competition is open to residents of the U.K. only between the ages of 5 and 16.

More details on the site:

New Books to Look Out For

I came across these lovely board books while browsing online recently. They are board books that introduce basic concepts (numbers, shapes and colour) using one central theme: the masjid. These books look great for toddlers and preschool age children at home or school. Check out the At the Masjid Learning Series from Compass Books

Another set of books I happened to see online as well is the STAIRS series by young author Nur Kose. These are books that introduce the adventures of a young Muslim girl as she interacts with her friends and siblings. Also have a look at stories and activities for and by children on the author’s website

Picture Books that let a Child’s Imagination Grow (Book Review)

Some time ago I stumbled upon the website of the publisher Greenbird Books, a Muslim publisher in the United Kingdom. I was happy to find picture books that not only were imaginatively designed, but that would inspire the imaginations of young children. Picture books use a combination of pictures and words to tell a story; in many cases the pictures tell more of the story. Picture books appeal to young children and children up to ages seven (but even older children and adults find them interesting as well!).



image source:

On Monday they marched through a great green land, singing……

“Allah hu Akbar
 we’re going on a journey,
to catch my dua 
just wait and see !”




Let’s Go Dua Catching is a story that takes your child on a journey with a little boy named Eesa and his pet, Mr. Cat. They travel around the world; over seas, through hot deserts and up tall mountains as they search for his dua. All through the book we hear Eesa remember Allah and children will love to join in by repeating the refrain, “Allah hu Akbar.” But Eesa learn that His Creator Allah knows everything, including his dua. This book is a wonderful book for reading aloud. The watercolour illustrations are beautiful, with just enough detail to capture the child’s attention without crowding the page. Infact the pictures have a somewhat tender dreamy quality to them which ties in well with how the book ends.



Title: Let’s Go Dua Catching

Author: Anaya Nayeer

Publisher: Greenbird Books

Reading Level: 5-7 years (Read On Own)

Interest Level: 2-6 years (Read Aloud)  



Somewhere in the North Pole very deep and very far, a Polar Bear dances under a brightly lit star. He sings,

“I am the Polar Shape bear,  the Polar Shape bear, come follow me if you dare !”

 I’m on my way to find a SQUARE. In the middle of Square land a Masjid lay, it called to prayer so everybody came to pray “Oh thank you Allah for all things, come what may! And along came the Polar Shape bear that day ….


”Assalamu alaikum, I am the Polar Shape bear I have come from far to find a square, just like that green one you have right there!” …

In Polar Shape Bear we meet a lively polar bear who introduces children to shapes. He finds them in masjids in various places. By the end of the book Polar Shape bear uses the shapes he collected to spell out a word. This book will appeal to very young children with its clear, vibrant and simple illustrations. The book introduces the child to basic shapes (circle, square and triangle). Children will be captivated by the bear’s smile and will find themselves joining in and singing with him.   

Title: Polar Shape Bear

Author: Ayesha Daoud

Illustrator: Uthman Zafar

Publisher: Greenbird Books

Reading Level: 5-6 years (Read On Own)

Interest Level: 2-4 years (Read Aloud)

For more information about these and other forthcoming titles visit the Greenbird Books website.