I give frequent lectures to the general public about Islam and politics. One question that is often asked is for additional resources. In this post I discuss two children's books that could be used to teach children about the Islamic month of fasting.
Ramadan Moon, by Na'ima B Robert and illustrated by Shirin Adl
This beautiful book presents a positive, devotional portrait of the holy month of Ramadan, the "great Month of Mercy," by following the phases of the moon. In this work, the main characters look forward to the holy month, enjoy it, and long for its return. This is a welcome change from the narrative that Muslims "survive" or "endure" the fast.
The book also presents the holy month as more than one of just fasting. Rather, Ramdan is portrayed as a time when Muslims seek to embrace their faith in every aspect of their lives, by giving to charity, acting with patience toward others and resist behavioral patterns like anger.
Most importantly, the book is BEAUTIFUL. The illustrations, especially pages 5-6, are stunning. Muslims are presented as diverse. In an age where Islam is so often presented in a negative light, people of all ages will benefit from reflecting on the Islamic esthetic tradition.
This book is ideal for parents introducing the subject of fasting to their own children, whether Muslim or not.
It's Ramadan, Curious George, by Hena Khan and illustrated by Mary O'Keefe Young
Curious George turns out to be a wonderful character from whom to learn about Ramadan. In the book, he shows solidarity with his friend Kareem by entertaining him during the day of his first fast, and then by partaking in the feast at the end of the month. George does not fast, however. Nor is the focus exclusively on fasting. Like Ramadan Moon, the book emphasizes charity as an essential practice during the holy month. The book is ideal for parents wanting to teach their children about how to support their Muslim friends who are fasting or for Muslim parents who want to encourage their children to involve their non-Muslim friends in some of the month's activities.