Today I’m sharing two fantastic picture books about Muslim-Jewish relationships.
A Moon for Moe and Mo is the story of two boys in New York City, one Jewish and one Muslim, who befriend each other at the grocery store as their mothers prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan. They discover just how much they have in common while sharing treats at the store. Later, each one thinks of the other as he gazes up at the moon and welcomes a holiday. A heart-warming story by Jane Breskin Zalben and gorgeous illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini (of Crescent Moons fame) make this a book that belongs on everyone’s shelf.
Yaffa and Fatima Shalom, Salaam is the story of a Jewish and a Muslim woman who live and work side by side in the holy land. The story explores how their different faiths are similar, and how their commonalities—kindness and generosity—bring them together. It’s written by Fawzia Gilani-Williams, who is such a thoughtful and talented writer, and illustrated by Chiara Fedele.
I highly recommend both of these beautiful books.
Let me know other interfaith children’s books you’ve found with Muslim characters.
A Moon for Moe and Mo Charlesbridge | Amazon
Yaffa and Fatima Shalom, Salaam Kar-Ben Publishing | Amazon
When Tughra Books approached me about a new children’s book about animals in the Quran, I was excited by the concept. They were kind enough to send me a copy of Living Creatures in the Holy Qur’an, which is both written and illustrated by Shahada Abdul Haqq. It is essentially a book of stories of the prophets and other stories, but organized by creature. I was pleased to open the table of contents and see how many creatures are mentioned in the Quran: a lot more than I thought. Continue reading
Mr. Gamal’s students are grumpy. One lost her bouncy ball; another doesn’t like his lunch. Mr. Gamal wishes there was a way to help them be more positive. On the way home from school, he stops at the dollar store, one of his favorite places. Seeing a bin of funky colored glasses, he gets the idea that “gratitude glasses” might help his students see the world in a new light. Continue reading
My First Book About the Qur’an, written by Sara Khan and illustrated by Ali Lodge, is a colorful and whimsical board book that is a perfect introduction to Islam for every tiny Muslim. The simple, friendly words together with the bright, happy illustrations make this book a joy to read and share. Continue reading
Snatched is a really sweet picture book set in Egypt about a little boy named Omar who makes a mistake, but owns it, and makes amends with his mom’s help.
Yan is a poor farmer who wants to go to hajj. But every time he saves up enough money and sets out, he meets someone in his path who needs his help.
He empties his money purse while on his journey three times, first to help repair a burned-down school, then to rescue a hurt and exploited boy, and finally, to build a mosque. Each time, he simply goes back home and gets back to work to save more money. Eventually, he is old enough that he knows he won’t be able to save enough money again. But the good deeds he filled his life with have caught up with him, and the boy he rescued comes to take Yan to hajj. On this final journey, he sees the fruits of his labor: the school, the boy’s happy parents, and the mosque. Continue reading
Oomi tells Yusuf and Isa that she has a surprise for them. They take guesses as they eat dinner, and clean up, and play, and brush their teeth, and finally . . . They discover that the surprise is even better than any of their guesses. This is a cute story about a young family’s everyday life with a Muslim bent.
In Mommy’s Khimar, a powerful new picture book for children 4–8, a little girl plays dress-up in her mom’s scarves, imagining she’s a queen, a superhero, and a mama bird.
Her favorite scarf is the yellow one, and when she wears it, it’s a cuddle from her mom. Even when she takes off her khimar, she carries her mother with her. Continue reading
Zak is having a great day and can’t wait to go to the skate park with his dad and sister. He just has to do more chore and not tell any lies. Easy, right?
Zak and His Little Lies, written by J. Samia Mair and illustrated by Omar Burgess, is a fun and engaging picture book and the second in a series about Zak. Continue reading
Bismillah Soup is one of my favorite picture books about a Muslim child. It is a delightful story about a boy who uses positivity and hard work to bring his community together and overcome adversity.
The Story. Hasan, a young Somali boy, knows his mom has a lot of problems. His dad is away for work, and they are down to the last few grains of rice in the bag. An electricity outage means a lot of their food has spoiled. Hasan, eager to help his mom, promises they will have a huge feast that night. She is perplexed, but Hasan runs off with his optimism in tow. He goes to the masjid and explains his problem to Shaykh Omar, who offers a pot and a bag of rice, and assures him, “Say Bismillah, and I’m sure you’ll think of something.”
This is the beginning of a beautiful tale about one boy’s perseverance and faith in Allah. Based on the classic story Stone Soup, it has a Somali flavor: his parents are his Aabo and Hooyo, and there are muufo bread, samboos, and bananas. Continue reading