I’ve been spending a lot of time at home reading and thinking, so I was able to decide which Muslim children’s books I most recommend for Eid 2020.
Especially for Eid ul Fitr 2020, books are the perfect gifts for kids, since we are practicing social distancing. Books are a safe way for your kids to be entertained, while escaping to a magical place. I’m posting this early enough for you to shop online or curbside at your bookstores (starting this Friday God willing, yay!) in time for Eid ul Fitr, and also to plan ahead for Eid al Adha.
This year, Eid-ul-Fitr falls approximately on May 23, 2020 (right after Ramadan ends), and Eid-ul-Adha is estimated to start on July 30, 2020 (after Hajj), God willing! Below are books and book boxes perfect for your child, niece, nephew, grandkid, or young neighbor’s Eid gift!
As a Contributing Writer for We Need Diverse Books, a Book Reviewer for Shelf Awareness, and a former Book Riot Contributor, I am blessed to read the latest and greatest books traditionally published (shout out to Simon & Schuster/Salam Reads! 🙂 ) However, I always make it a point in my Eid gift lists to highlight the hardworking and insightful Muslim women- specifically from underrepresented ethnic groups like African and Latinx- that choose to self-or -independently publish. This post is no exception, but I have to say this is my most exciting list yet! These entrepreneurial Muslimah authors, publishers, and curators have set a new bar with their 5 Eid- themed books, book boxes, and greeting cards!
First, the Eid book I most recommend is Eid Breakfast at Abuela’s, written by Mariam Saad, illustrated by Chaymaa Sobhy, and published by Prolance in 2019. I love this picture book because it reflects the diverse Muslim- American community: Sofia is a half- Mexican Muslim- American girl who celebrates Eid at her non-Muslim grandmother’s house. This is incredibly relatable and relevant to the Muslim community in the West, especially California. In fact, like Sofia I also (had) a Mexican-American, non-Muslim grandmother who I enjoyed many holidays with. Whether your child sees themselves within the pages of this book because they are mixed- race or have a convert parent, or they simply get to learn about the diversity of the Muslim community, we need to read books like this which reflect current demographics and cultural dynamics.
Eid Breakfast at Abuela’s is one of the four picture books included in the 2020 Ramadan READy Library Project kit, an incredible educational kit with Ramadan and Eid resources donated to 100 libraries across the United States! The main kit includes a coordinating craft for each book and Ramadan and Eid decorations (the decorations totally light up our living room). The crafts and activity sheet PDF templates are available to download for free on the Ramadan READy website! You may donate to sponsor a library kit, or purchase a mini kit. To accommodate for the sudden social distancing and quarantining, Ramadan READy collaborated on online sessions with several libraries and Islamic Centers.
Third, Muhiima’s Quest by Rahma Rodaah is a great picture book to read at Eid, because it talks about 10- year- old Muhima getting a gift for a reason besides her birthday. Muslim kids can relate to this story since they celebrate different holidays and receive gifts for different reasons than most of Western society.
I especially admire Rodaah because she is a former refugee from Ethiopia, and is vocal and consistent in her #ownvoices mission for both Muslims and black authors. Rodaah specifically wrote this book so that her daughter could see herself in the pages of the books she reads, instead of thinking she needed to emulate blonde Elsa.
The fourth recommendation is Int-T’s Eid box. Int-T, or “You First” creator Walaa Hassanien is a lovely Sudanese-Canadian mother of four.
The In-T Eid box, available to order May 5, features an exclusive copy of the much-anticipated middle grade anthology Once Upon an Eid! With joyful Eid stories edited and written by our favorite award-winning authors like New York Times Bestseller S.K. Ali and G. Willow Wilson, this book will be a surefire win with middle grade and young adult readers. Once Upon an Eid officially releases on May 5, 2020, and is already a #1 New Release in Children’s Muslim Fiction on Amazon!
During this challenging time, Eid will be very different for our children this year. Once Upon an Eid is the perfect book with its “Stories of Hope and Joy” to remind us of the wonderful memories of past Eid holidays, and help us look forward to many more wonderful Eids in the future, God willing. When I gaze at the book on my bookshelf and thumb through the 15 stories, I feel the love and optimism from our caring Muslimah authors like Hena Khan (my favorite MG author of More to the Story) and Ashley Franklin, and I know your children will too.
The fifth and final recommendation is a beautiful Eid greeting card that is the perfect addition to your bookish Eid gift! Canada-based HelloHolyDays tells a story with each of their Eid greeting cards. Created by Manal Aman, HelloHolyDays’ designs are so unique they are featured on Martha Stewart! Despite her success and demand, Aman finds the time to send personalized greeting cards to her customers. I was delighted to receive an exclusive holiday greeting card from her, and I will treasure it, as I do the award-nominated “Ramadan just FLEW by” card I ordered from her site.
HelloHolyDays cards fit perfectly with the gift of a book, because Aman strives to “tell a story through her art” in her greeting cards. Especially her “text- focused cards” like “eid hugs” tell the story of culture- based traditions: South Asians commonly hug each other three times after the Eid prayer (will probably be air hugs this year).
In the comments and on social media, please let me know which bookish gift you are looking forward to gifting your child for Eid, and which one they enjoyed the most! With your support and recommendation, God willing these products will be more readily available in mainstream shops and sites for future Eid holidays to come!