My Favorite Ramadan Children’s Books

Alhamdulillah, we are living in a time where we have quite a few options for children’s books about Ramadan. Unfortunately, not all children’s books are created equal. In this list, I’m sharing some of my absolute favorite books about Ramadan for children 4–8.

The Jinni on the Roof

Written by Natasha Rafi

Illustrated by Abdul Malik Channa

It’s the story of Raza, who is too young to fast but wakes in the night to the smell of golden, flaky parathas being fried in the kitchen for the family’s pre-dawn meal. He just can’t wait, and he comes up with a clever and humorous way to get some parathas before the children’s breakfast. This really cute and heartwarming story is a favorite in my house, and it is the reason we stock parathas in my freezer every Ramadan. One of my favorite spreads shows how the sleeping house is filled with visiting relatives packed like sardines for Eid. It reminds me of my own childhood.

Find it here: Goodreads | Amazon.com


It’s Ramadan, Curious George

Written by Hena Khan

Illustrated by Mary O’Keefe Young

This board book is a simple but comprehensive introduction to Ramadan for young children and older ones, too. In it, our favorite curious monkey helps his friend Kareem prepare for and celebrate the month of Ramadan. I really love this one because it’s so powerful to see a familiar character that we know and love eating iftar, going to the mosque to do good deeds, and looking for the moon that marks Eid.

Find it here: Goodreads | Houghton MifflinAmazon.com | Book Depository


Ramadan Around the World

Written by Ndaa Hassan

Illustrated by Azra Momin

This picture book shows scenes of kids and families all over the world celebrating Ramadan. It not only showcases ethnic diversity but also shows children with autism, hearing impairments, and diabetes. The children fill sadaqah jars, play soccer, and gather at the mosque to pray and share food. There is kunafa, bubur lambak, and rooh afza. You’ll have to read if you don’t know what any of those are! I really love this book because it is a powerful demonstration of the ayah: “We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another.”

Find it here: Goodreads | Ramadan Around the World


A Party in Ramadan

Written by Asma Mobin-Uddin

Illustrated by Laura Jacobsen

This picture books is the story of Leena, who is excited to fast on the day her Auntie Sana is coming to iftar. When Leena’s friend invites her to a birthday party on the same day, Leena’s mom tells her that it would be alright for her to fast a different day instead. But Leena thinks she can do both. Will she be able to? I love that this picture book tackles the realities of growing up as a religious minority. Leena holds tight to her faith, and the ending shows Leena’s family and her neighbors coming together in a way that showcases the beauty of Ramadan.

Find it here: Goodreads | Penguin Random House | Amazon.com | Book Depository


Lailah’s Lunchbox

Written by Reem Faruqi

Illustrated by Lea Lyon

Lailah is excited to be fasting Ramadan for the first time, and she puts away her school lunchbox for an entire month! Lailah’s mother writes a note for her teacher, but Lailah feels too nervous to give it to her. Lailah’s family moved from Abu Dhabi to Peachtree City last year, and she is worried what her classmates and teacher will say when they discover she is fasting. As lunchtime rolls around, Lailah can’t figure out what to do. Will she tell everyone she’s fasting? And how?

I love that this book tackles the struggle of going to school as a religious minority. In this empowering story, Lailah discovers that her teacher, librarian, and classmates are allies, and she owns her Muslim identity proudly.

Find it here: Goodreads | Tilbury House Publishers | Amazon.com | Book Depository

The Tower

The Tower is Shereen Malherbe’s newest contemporary novel. It takes place in the UK and is loosely based on the Grenfell Tower fire, in which 72 people died when the social housing complex was destroyed. This quiet and contemplative novel is told from the alternating points of view of two women who move into the building from very different lives. View Post

Ayesha Dean: The Seville Secret

The Seville Secret is the second installment in the Ayesha Dean middle grade series by Melati Lum. It follows Ayesha, a hijabi Australian teenager, as she travels and solves mysteries with her friends.

In The Seville Secret, Ayesha goes with friends Jess and Sara and her Uncle David to Spain. He has business to attend to while the girls go on holiday. On the plane, they meet Kareem, who is going to Spain to look for his grandfather, who disappeared while studying some ancient jewels. Ayesha offers to help, and adventure ensues. View Post

Lissa

Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution is a graphic novel following two girls, one American and one Egyptian, as they grow up, choose careers, and lose family members. Although the story is fictional, it combines anthropological research about American and Egyptian healthcare cultures with the story of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. This unique concept (ethnography via graphic novel) is the first in a series called ethnoGRAPHIC from the University of Toronto Press. View Post

It’s Not About the Burqa

“We are not asking for permission any more. We are taking up space. We’ve listened to a lot of people talking about who Muslim women are without actually hearing Muslim women. So now, we are speaking. And now, it’s your turn to listen.”

It’s Not About the Burqa was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it did not disappoint. One idea that comes up again and again in this anthology of essays by Muslim British women is the idea of superficial representation. Muslim women are being embraced by advertisers everywhere these days, but they are only welcome insomuch as they tap a new market for revenue. But as soon as one of these women wants to express an opinion—about global justice or racism or life—she is no longer welcome. This anthology pushes back against that kind of representation, and in it, seventeen women stand up and speak their truth. View Post