Zaynab and Zakariya Learn to Recycle (Book Review)

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“Zakariya was having a clear out. He had some old toys that he did not with anymore. He also had lots of old used paper that he was going to take outside and throw in the bin.

“Stop!” said Zaynab. “You can’t throw that away.”

“Why ever not it’s only bits of paper?” said Zakariya.”


Zakariya is a young boy cleaning up his room. He is about to throw away a pile of paper and other things when his sister tells him that he can recycle them instead. Zakariya, like all little children, is curious and ask questions. He wants to find out what recycling means. His sister Zaynab proceeds to explain this to him.

As the story progresses we witness the ease by which we can all attempt to live a life that incorporates the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle). Not only do Zaynab and Zakariya want to recycle,  they make a compost and while shopping, learn how to identify eco-friendly products. This book is not only a wonderful way to introduce to the concept of recycling but of appreciating the all the resources Allah has given humans and how we must try our best to use them responsibly.  

Zaynab and Zakariya Learn to Recycle is the first book in a series planned by Smart Ark. This is the first publisher I have seen who has addressed an environmental issue in a book for young children. Muslim children living in our world today need to read books like this one because of two reasons. First, as Muslims we need to be responsible about how we treat our environment. Second, Muslim children need to see children like themselves taking care of the earth. And Smart Ark ensures that it sets an example by making their books (and other products, see here and here) out of recycled materials (see their environmental policy for some of the other environmentally friendly things this company does.).

Zaynab and Zakariya Learn to Recycle is a great resource for the classroom as teachers will find that it ties in with the curriculum. Parents also, will find the natural conversation that takes place between brother and sister easily engages young readers thereby serving to educate them about issues of the environment that all Muslims need to know.

Title: Zaynab and Zakariya Learn to Recycle

Author: Fehmida Ibrahim Shah

Publisher: Smart Ark

ISBN:  978095629979

Subject: recycling, environment

Reading Level: 4-5 years (Read Aloud), 6-8 years (Read on Own)