Yaseen’s Big Dream is a cute picture book by Umm Juwayriyah describing the dreams of a young Black protagonist. At night, when he goes to sleep, he doesn’t just dream random dreams, but he dreams his wishes, hopes, and aspirations for the future.
He dreams that he is “a hero, a friend, a helper, a builder, the barber shop owner, and even the prayer leader at his masjid.”
One night, he dreams that he is the President of the United States for a day. As president, he feeds the homeless, tours schools to talk to kids, and plays (and wins) a game of celebrity basketball. And yes, of course Yaseen and his family pray the night prayers in the Oval Office.
This dream is the main plot of the book, and although the lack of a conflict left me feeling cheated out of a story, I like that this book shows a boy daring to dream to the furthest reaches of his imagination. He places himself in roles that are big and small but that all have one thing in common—service. He is an empowered and empowering character to share with our children, and I’d love to see more books (with actual plots) featuring his adventures in the future.
The writing is sweet and often lyrical. That made some redundancies, grammatical errors, and awkward phrasing extra annoying to me. I find that sort of thing unforgivable in a book that is meant to be read aloud over and over and that is meant for children who are learning to read. I also don’t want my children to learn that the Islamic products in our house are of a lower quality than mainstream secular products.
The illustrations, by Azra Momin, are soft, whimsical, and really lovely. They show Yaseen at work and asleep.
The message of this fun book is “dream big!”
Thank you to Djarabi Kitabs Publishing for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.