Embracing Diversity: Picture Books about Ramadan Traditions

Embracing Diversity: Picture Books about Ramadan and Eid Traditions

Welcoming the holy month of Ramadan is a special time for Muslims worldwide. Picture books about Ramadan provide children with a deeper understanding of this significant time and open windows to the diverse experiences of Muslims globally. Whether it's the anticipation of sighting the crescent moon, the practice of fasting, or the joyous celebration of Eid, these books offer a heartwarming and enlightening journey through this holy month.

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Picture Books for Ramadan and Eid: Fostering Understanding and Joy

The holy month of Ramadan, observed by Muslims globally, is a time of spiritual reflection and fasting and an opportunity for children to engage with their faith in a fun and educational manner.

Picture books about Ramadan allow your students to explore the significance of this special holiday, opening avenues for understanding and conversation. 

Children are introduced to the vibrancy of Islamic culture and values by spending time with picture books about Ramadan and Eid. 

Benefits of Reading Picture Books about Ramadan and Eid in the Classroom

Reading picture books about Ramadan and Eid in the classroom can have several benefits for teachers and students:

Promotes cultural awareness: Picture books about Ramadan and Eid can help students learn about the Islamic faith and its cultural practices, promoting cultural awareness and understanding.

Encourages empathy: By learning about the experiences and traditions of others, students can develop empathy and a greater understanding of diverse perspectives.

Develops literacy skills: Reading picture books about Ramadan and Eid helps students develop literacy skills such as new vocabulary and critical thinking. 

Fosters inclusivity: By introducing students to different cultures and religions, picture books about Ramadan and Eid promote inclusivity and create a more accepting classroom environment.

Provides teachable moments: Picture books about Ramadan and Eid provide teachable moments for teachers to discuss important topics such as diversity, tolerance, and cultural traditions.

Ramadan Generic Images for Inside Posts

Ramadan and Eid: A Brief Overview

To understand the context and significance of our recommended books, let’s briefly look at Ramadan and Eid. Ramadan, observed during the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, is a holy month of fasting and prayer from sunrise to sunset. It encourages Muslims to lead a virtuous life and give charity. The fasting period concludes with the 3-day celebration of Eid-al-Fitr, a time of gratitude and forgiveness.

Questions to Pair with Picture Books about Ramadan and Eid

  • What are some Ramadan or Eid traditions mentioned in the book?
  • How does the book represent the spirit of Ramadan or Eid?
  • What special foods do the characters eat for Iftar or during the Eid celebration in the book?
  • How do the characters in the book prepare for Eid after Ramadan?
  • How do the characters dress up for Eid in the story?
  • Are there any acts of charity or Zakat (almsgiving) described in the story?
  • How does the moon sighting play a role in the story?
  • How does the book’s portrayal of Ramadan or Eid compare to your experiences?
  • Does the book mention how different cultures might observe Ramadan or celebrate Eid?
  • What does Ramadan or Eid mean to the characters in the book?
  • Does the book make you feel more excited for Ramadan or Eid? Why or why not?
  • How do the characters celebrate the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid in the book?
  • What is the role of family and community during Ramadan and Eid in the story?
  • Are there any elements of the story that remind you of how you observe Ramadan or celebrate Eid in your family?
  • How does fasting during Ramadan affect the characters in the book?
  • Are there any unique or special Ramadan or Eid customs in the book that you’ve never heard of before?
  • What did you learn about Ramadan or Eid from reading this book?

Picture Books about Ramadan and Eid

As well as books about Ramadan and Eid you will find books about Muslim families that are a great introduction to Islamic traditions. These stories offer a glimpse into Muslim families and traditions, making them perfect additions to your classroom or home library:

The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin

For Eid, Aneesa gets new outfits from her grandmother. At the mosque, she sees two refugee sisters in poor-fitting clothes. Empathizing with their situation, she gives them her new outfits, enhancing their celebration and making her Eid especially rewarding.

The Best Eid Ever is an example of how the actions of one person can make a significant difference in the lives of others.

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets by Hena Khan

This is the first of three picture books about Ramadan by Hena Khan. Explore Islamic architecture and design elements, from the crescent moon symbol commonly seen on mosques to square gardens and octagonal fountains. It introduces geometric concepts and design principles integral to Islamic art.

This book encourages discussions on cultural diversity, acceptance, and understanding. Presenting Islamic culture through shapes creates a connection between something children know and something they are learning about.

Drummer Girl by Hiba Masood

Najma lives in a Turkish village and dreams of becoming a musaharati, a drummer who wakes families for the pre-dawn meal during Ramadan. Traditionally taken on by men, Najma is determined to fulfil her dream and show her community that she can take on this important role. 

Drummer Girl inspires discussions about overcoming barriers, challenging gender stereotypes, courage, determination, self-belief, and pursuing one’s dreams.

The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lumbard

Sophie is disappointed she can’t keep the fast for a full day of Ramadan. With guidance from her mother and grandmother, Sophie understands the significance of Ramadan beyond fasting.

The Gift of Ramadan explores empathy, compassion, generosity and an understanding more about Ramadan.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan

This is the second of three picture books about Ramadan by Hena Khan. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns introduce elements of Islam, each associated with a different colour through the eyes of a young Muslim girl. The book incorporates Arabic vocabulary to describe Islamic customs and traditions.

The book presents Islamic culture and promotes discussions on diversity, acceptance, and respect for other cultures and religions.

In My Mosque by M. O. Yuksel

In My Mosque presents mosques as religious sites and places of community, learning, and love. It emphasizes the inclusivity of mosques, stating that everyone is welcome, regardless of age, gender, or background.

Read the book to discuss diversity, religion, inclusivity, and community and foster understanding and empathy in your students.

Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi

Lailah, a young Muslim girl, moves from Abu Dhabi to the United States. She is excited to participate in her first Ramadan fast but worries about how her new classmates will react.

Lailah’s Lunchbox teaches us about cultural and religious diversity, fasting, and the significance of Ramadan. It provides an opportunity to discuss acceptance, tolerance, and the strength of sharing traditions with others.

Moon's Ramadan by Natasha Khan Kazi

Moon is a young girl excited to experience Ramadan, a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection. She and her family wake up early for suhoor, the pre-dawn meal, and break their fast with iftar in the evening. 

Moon learns about the importance of giving to others, and she and her family prepare food to share with neighbours and friends. The book promotes understanding and appreciation of the Islamic faith and its traditions.

The Most Exciting Eid by Zeba Talkhani

Safa prepares for the Muslim holiday of Eid-al-Fitr with her family. She helps her mother prepare traditional foods, decorates the house, and buys new clothes to wear. When the day finally arrives, Safa and her family go to the mosque for prayer and celebrate with a big feast and many fun activities. 

The Most Exciting Eid teaches children about the customs and traditions associated with Eid, such as giving gifts to loved ones and sharing food with others. It emphasizes the importance of spending time with family and friends during this special time.

My Grandma and Me by Mina Javaherbin

Living in Iran, Mina and her grandma participate in activities together: they go to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, visit their Christian neighbours, and embark on imaginary adventures together. 

My Grandma and Me provides insights into Islamic practices and introduces the concept of interfaith friendships, promoting understanding and acceptance.

The Night Before Eid: A Muslim Family Story by Aya Khalil

On the eve of Eid, Zain and his family engage in a family tradition of baking special sweet treats called ka’ak. The ingredients are sourced from Zain’s extended family in Egypt, adding a special significance to the dish and linking Zain to his rich cultural heritage.

The Night Before Eid celebrates family bonds, tradition, cultural heritage, and the joyous festival of Eid. It is a platform to discuss different cultural practices, family traditions, and the significance of food in celebrations and religious festivals.

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan

This is the third of three picture books about Ramadan by Hena Khan. Experience the traditions and celebrations of Ramadan through the eyes of a young Pakistani-American girl named Yasmeen. She shares the excitement of spotting the moon’s first crescent and the festive celebrations of Eid-al-Fitr at the month’s end.

Night of the Moon promotes cultural and religious diversity discussions, fostering understanding and respect for different traditions and celebrations.

Ramadan Moon by Na'ima B. Robert

Ramadan Moon introduces readers to the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and its culmination in the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr through the perspective of a young Muslim child.

Ramadan Moon encourages discussions around cultural diversity, religious observance and the importance of charity and empathy towards the less fortunate 

Under the Ramadan Moon by Sylvia Whitman

Under the Ramadan Moon celebrates the special time of Ramadan, as seen through the eyes of a family. The story follows their religious practices, such as fasting, praying, reading the Quran, and giving to the poor, all under the watchful gaze of the Ramadan moon.

The book helps children learn about Ramadan’s spiritual and communal aspects and promotes discussions about different cultures, traditions, and the value of giving and sharing.

Wake up! It's the Ramadan Drummer by Mariam Hakim

Adam notices his neighbours struggling to wake up for the Ramadan pre-fast meal (Suhoor) and dawn prayer (Fajr). Adam’s father becomes the neighbourhood’s Ramadan Drummer, rising early to ensure everyone wakes. This challenging task demands courage, perseverance, and community service, yet, he’s determined to revive this Ramadan tradition.

Wake Up! explores cultural heritage, community service, and bravery in facing challenges and fosters a deeper understanding and appreciation for the traditions and practices of Ramadan.

Zahra's Blessing: A Ramadan Story by Shirin Shamsi

Zahra wishes for a sister during the holy month of Ramadan. She volunteers at a local shelter for asylum seekers and meets a young girl displaced by conflict. Through this friendship, Zahra learns the importance of gratitude and empathy and finds an unexpected blessing.

Zahra’s Blessing portrays the spirit of Ramadan – a time of prayer, reflection, and giving. It introduces the experience of asylum seekers, encouraging your students to consider perspectives different from their own, the power of community and reaching out to those in need

In Summary

As we journey through Ramadan and Eid, picture books serve as our compass, guiding us towards deeper appreciation and understanding. They bridge cultural gaps, instill values, and remind us of the universal spirit of empathy, charity, and gratitude.

As we go through Ramadan and Eid, picture books close the gap between different cultures and remind us that everyone, no matter where their background, can share empathy, charity, and gratitude.

By including these stories in your classrooms, we’re making sure everyone feels included and respected.

We would love to hear about your favorite Ramadan and Eid picture books.

What are your favourite picture books to read during Ramadan and Eid? Let me know in the comments.

The BBC gives a great overview of Ramadan and Eid-al-Fitr for children, including videos.

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