By Elizabeth Wroten
Nonfiction Review: Ramadan by Suhaib Hamid Ghazi
On 25, Jun 2016 | In Review | By Elizabeth Wroten
From Goodreads: Hakeem and his family observe Ramadan together — the holiest month of the Islamic calendar. They fast, they pray, all according to the belief of Quran first revealed fourteen centuries ago. It is a time to reflect on one’s actions, to give to charity, and to celebrate one’s faith.
To be honest this is one of the best books about Ramadan I have read thus far.The loose story follows Hakeem, a young Muslim boy, through the month. The book covers the meaning of Ramadan, how it is celebrated, and about Eid al-Fitr in a lot of depth (for a children’s picture book). There is a lot of text in this one making it better suited to older readers and children with longer attention spans, which is too bad because the information it contains puts all those easier-to-read books to shame. Again, if I’m honest, this is the type of book I would prefer to share with my students.
I did think there was an odd disconnect here between the amount of text and complexity of it which made it seem more suitable to a third or fourth grade audience (or older) and how young Hakeem seems in the illustrations. Does that matter? Maybe, maybe not. I know getting older kids to read picture books is hard and it might be harder with a young looking narrator. It’s such a beautiful book, though.
I am a huge fan of Rayyan’s illustrations. They are so beautiful. He has an Etsy shop that you can purchase prints of some of his works on. He does such an incredible job painting intricate patterns and his use of color is stunning. Oftentimes when illustrators draw people in a realistic way they can come out looking strange or distorted. Rayyan captures people’s expressions beautifully.
I think that this is a book best suited for sharing in a classroom where teachers and students can pore over it and study various aspects of the holiday around the book. Because of the length I’m just not sure how many kids will pick it up on their own. I still encourage you to have it in your school library where you can lend it out to teachers during Ramadan or read it to your students when they come to you. You might even be able to read parts and entice some kids to check it out to read the rest.