Zaid and the Gigantic Cloud by Helal Musleh and illustrated by Sabrina Pichardo

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Zaid has been looking forward to his uncle’s annual camping trip and is really disappointed when it gets cancelled. He spends the night feeling bad about missing out, and when he wakes up the next morning, he finds a gray cloud above his head. At school, his bad day keeps getting worse and worse: winter is coming, he has to sit at the back of the bus, and on and on. And the gray cloud grows bigger and bigger.

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Eventually, Zaid performs an act of kindness, and his cloud shrinks a little. He spends the rest of the day re-evaluating all those things that seemed so bad that morning. Each time he’s able to see something in a more positive light, his cloud shrinks a little.

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I love how creative this book is. The cloud as a physical manifestation of negativity is such an apt metaphor. Our negativity colors the rest of our impressions. And I love the way Zaid was able to break out of that cycle by helping someone else—a powerful message about service and generosity of the self. 

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Something else that this book does that I’ll never tire of cheering about – it shows Muslim characters doing everyday kid stuff and tells a beautiful story without preaching.

Do you have this book? What other children’s books have you read that include Muslim characters and talk about navigating big feelings or other self-development topics?

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