My First Ramadan by Karan Katz
📚 BOOK REVIEW 📚 Title: My First Ramadan Author: Karen Katz Publisher: Scholastic Inc. Type: Fiction/Non-Fiction Age: 3-7 Rating: 3/10 for effort? 🌙 Islamic Content: Ramadan, basic information on Muslims 🌙 Concerns: portrayal of sahabas and the Prophet alayhi salam, incorrect definition of the word Islam, overall tone and more (see full review) 🌙 Summary: The story follows a little boy as he experiences his first time fasting in Ramadan. He sights the new moon, which means the month of Ramadan has begun for Muslims around the world. He eats suhoor with his family, they pray Fajr together and continues his normal daily school schedule. He comes home to break his fast with water and dates, just like the Prophet alayhi salam has recommended. The little boy and his family also visit the mosque for prayer at night. At the end of Ramadan, they sight the new moon and celebrate eid with family and friends.
🌙 Review: This little boy is going to try fasting for the first time, and he takes us along. Although the book is fictional, it reads more like factual reference in kid-friendly text. It's important to recognize that there are some positive aspects: it's an introduction of a few basic facts about Muslims in general, and specifically Ramadan. It mentions Islam, Qur'an, the Prophet alayhi salam, prayer, Eid ul-Fitr, diversity of backgrounds of Muslims. But is that enough for us to love this book? No, and here's why. 1. The definition of the word Islam is stated as Peace, which is incorrect. Islam means submission, to fully and completely submit to God. 2. On one of the pages, they have illustrated men in turbans with a camel in the desert, presumably to be the Prophet alayhi salam and the sahaba. This is completely against Islamic protocol. 3. As a Muslim, I find the overall tone of this book is completely off. 4. I am bothered that they have spelled 'Koran' instead of Qur'an. Just gives me a negative vibe. 5. The true essence of Ramadan is non-existent in this story. How about highlighting the increase in good deeds? Empathy towards the less fortunate who experience hunger? Generosity and giving charity? 🌙 All this really tells me that not enough thorough research was done in order to show the true essence of Ramadan in the most accurate way possible. It also truly highlights the importance of having diverse authors telling their own stories through their own voices. 🌙 I am so glad we have better choices of Ramadan books and stories (by Muslim authors) that are published traditionally and independently that we can all add to our libraries.