Don’t Touch My Crown – REVIEW

Written by Hamidah Abdul Rashid

Illustrated by Uzma Ahmad

Published in 2018 by Create Space.

Our Rating: [4/5] ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended Age-7 plus

Bullying is a more than serious problem, here in the states and worldwide.

A recent study in the U.S shows,

“60,000 kids per day skips school for fear of being bullied.

When bystanders intervene, bullying stops within 10 seconds 57% of the time.”

https://americanspcc.org/bullying/statistics-and-information/

I feel it’s more like a contagious disease now, affecting all it touches. And like any contagious disease that needs to be nipped in the bud by vaccination, bullying needs to be addressed from adolescence. Similar to a fretful parent at a vaccination appointment, is the case of a parent talking to a child about how she may be bullied in the future. As much as we may wish to, we can not shelter our children from the ugly bitterness of this world. Therefore we must equip them with tools that empower them. As of recent reports, Muslim children are likely to face more bullying than other children. One such event, I’ll quote,

“Similarly last month, an 11-year-old girl had her khimar, an Islamic headscarf, abruptly removed by a classmate.”

http://www.philly.com/philly/news/anti-muslim-bullying-schools-increase-lawsuit-st-dominics-20180722.html?mobi=true

Sadly this young girl wasn’t the first or the last to be subjected to such unworthy behavior. The author of this book, Hamidah Abdul Rashid was also a victim in a similar incident, and her response was to tell the world about it through her own story. I admire her strength, courage and vision to help others and spread awareness in this emotionally enlightening book.

As a bookblogger, I strongly believe in the power of story-telling and this book is a powerful read for the following reasons,

  1. If your child is a hijabi or plans to take her hijab, this book may teach her how to respond if bullied.
  2. We have books about Muslim children being bullied but I think it’s safe to say that this may be one of the first books that is written by a Muslim Child about bullying for CHILDREN. Think of the impact that’ll have on a. Hold when you tell them someone about their age authored the book!
  3. This book may help open the lines of communication between a parent and child being bullied. (Studies reflect children that are reluctant to share that they are being bullied at home).
  4. This book shows the importance of standing up for others being bullied. We see the protagonist taking a stand for a victimized child. TAKE A STAND!

When I read the book to my eight year old daughter and niece, I felt my throat constricting and eyes welling up as we read through the pages & flipped through the illustrations. I could see my little audience all ears, experiencing much emotion as we went through Bilqis’s story. (Bilqis’s story is based off Hamidah Abdul Rashid the author’s own experience).

Bilqis’s Story:

Bilqis is excited about Theatre Arts Summer camp and is almost late on her first day. She hopes to find friends from school and meets her friend Kyla upon arrival. Their teacher is Ms Wilcox, someone who gives Bilqis a grandma feel and pronounces her name incorrectly every time. (A common problem for children with foreign names). I thoroughly enjoyed how the author gave this part of the story a funny feel, simultaneously correcting the teacher politely every time. At this point I really wished that the author could have addressed the issue of mispronounced names in a separate book for children. Present times call for such content and Muslim representations. That being said my daughter giggled at Bilqis being called Bella Kris and could so relate to the story, because of her own name. I hope it gave her the strength to politely correct anyone who mispronounces her name.

After attendance Bilqis talks about staying away from Jason who in her words, is not a ‘nice kid’. Bilqis’s worries about the ‘not so nice kid’ subside with the announcement of the upcoming field trip. The class is to go to the Performing Arts center to see professionals act.  After two weeks Ms Wilcox announces that the class will be taking place in a talent show with other Theatre Art camps in the city and Bilqis gets the lead role!

One day in the auditorium Kyla ignores Jason calling her, ‘ugly.’ To this Jason takes a step further and physically attacks her, by hitting her in the eye. That is when Bilqis stands up for her friend telling Jason to stop or she’ll go to the teacher. Thereafter Jason apologizes but sounds completely unapologetic.

Later Jason tries to pick a physical fight with Bilqis, to which Bilqis chooses to walk way. Jason runs after her and pulls off her hijab, calls Bilqis, ‘ugly’ and her head covering a ‘pillow case.’ He also tells Bilqis to go away because no one likes Muslims. The teacher comforts a humiliated Bilqis and reports Jason to the anti-bullying specialists right away.

In the book Bilqis explains what the hijab is and why it’s worn to others at camp. Jason is sent home immediately and Ms Wilcox tells Bilqis’s mom the events of the day at pick-up time. Bilqis’s mom wants to schedule a meeting at the camp (to talk abut the episode) but Bilqis tells her mother to leave it because A truly remorseful Jason had apologized.

The teacher had Bilqis talk to the children about the hijab in wake of the event. My absolute favorite part is when Bilqis tells Jason that her hijab is her crown & never to touch it! If you really think about it, the hijab, just like the crown is what gives every Muslimah her uniqueness and sets her apart from all! Loved the analogy!

“I was also given the chance to talk about why I wear the hijab and why its wrong for anyone to snatch it off my head. I told Jordan that it was my crown and he better not ever touch it again.

I also told him that whenever he sees anyone else with a hijab on he should be respectful and not touch it.”

The ending is indeed a happy one, where Bilqis is excited about the show and gives her own message at the end.”

“Hi everyone! My name is Bilqis and I have a very important message! Bullying is wrong and no one deserves to be bullied! Bullying someone just because they are different is not cool! If you see another kid getting bullied, please speak up and tell a grown up. If you are being bullied, then tell your parents or a grown up! Let’s knock out bullying together!”

Support this young author and her message by sharing the book and review. I’d like to thank the author for providing me a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Check out my insta-stories for a sneak-peak of the book!

Let’s knock out bullying together,

Mimi.

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10 REASONS DEEN MAGAZINE IS A VALUABLE RESOURCE FOR CHILDREN

OUR RATING- [5/5] ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recommended Ages-  2-12 (Age Appropriate issues for 2-4, 5-7, 8-11)

Available here- MY DEEN MAGAZINE

1. No More Worksheet Printing-

Parents of homeschooling and schooling children alike need  Islamic content which is fun and engaging for their children on a day to day basis. Printing can be a hassle and that’s where deen magazine comes in. It is PACKED with activities for children and now you don’t have to choose from a plethora of websites, when on the go or busy.
SALAH JOURNAL INCLUDED!!!

2. Family Time-

MY DEEN MAGAZINE has activities that help the family connect with their children through discussions and games. The magazines I received had the following themes & gave parents a chance to have thought-provoking conversations with their children.
SHARING IS CARING
GIVING THANKS TO ALLAH
ISLAMIC HISTORY
There were pages with Ayahs, Hadis, and History. My children and I discussed all the topics at length. I was surprised to hear their thoughts, experiences and what they already knew about these topics. It definitely was quality-time spent with them.

3. Ideal curriculum while traveling-

For those folks who may have extended vacation plans, MY DEEN MAGAZINE
is an educational resource to take along for your children. Pre-planned lessons and activities galore, from subjects like History, Math, English, and Arabic. My six-year-old is currently working on making a game (materials provided in the magazine) which can be portable and perfect for travel!

4. Excellent content for Saturday School/ HomeSchoolers- 

An excellent resource if your child doesn’t go to Saturday or Sunday school which includes,
ARABIC
ISLAMIC HISTORY
QURAN AND SUNNAH
Also a valuable resource for homeschoolers in search of monthly curriculum made in a fun & engaging way.

5. Activities that pick at brain muscles-

The magazine includes activities that aim to develop brain muscles. 
Sudoku (For 8-11 years)
Word search (For All Ages)
Mazes (For All Ages)
Anagrams (8-11)
Rhyming (2-4)
Scrambled Words (5-7)
Decoding Symbols (5-7)

6. Projects included

YAY!! My children endlessly create, rarely missing out on an opportunity to get their hands on yet another project. It not only keeps them busy, but it also gives them opportunities to learn something new each time they create.

MY DEEN MAGAZINE provides projects with a minimum supply list. No, you don’t have to run to the dollar tree for this one, just simple materials or recyclable products from your house & you’re good.
Friendship Flower (Ages 2-4, materials included)
Salah clock (Ages 5-7, materials not included)
Dua Jar (Ages 8-11, materials not included)
Plant a seed (Ages 8-11, materials not included)

7. Islamic History or Bedtime stories?

I find children to be quite perceptive once they know it’s time for bed. What better time to take your children down history lane, narrating the awe-inspiring discoveries & inventions made by MUSLIMS! Reading is a way to expand a child’s imagination as-well-as to teach them new things about their religion’s past.

8. Penmanship Practice & Fine Motor Development

This point is for the Ages 2-4 edition. The magazine includes activities with,
Tracing
Matching
Circling
and
Coloring.

9. Themes based on Islamic Holidays

I gladly found that MY DEEN MAGAZINE also provided content for the holiday season. (I did not receive magazines based off the holiday theme, but thought it was worth mentioning to my audience). A little something you can cross off your Holiday to-do-list. (Pssst…I saw a holiday discount for the Hajj Magazine).

10. Facts with Positive Muslim Portrayal

The magazines are packed with information about Muslims that may have names, that your children have.
They might have something in common with the people they read about in the magazine. They may be inspired to do as the legends before them.
They’ll dream bigger knowing they come from a people who have contributed greatly to the field of education.
I have a Fatema in my household and I know how proud she is when she sees Fatima Al-Fihri. The effects might not be seen immediately, but you my friend have planted the seeds.

Personal tales with Mimi-

It’s the summer break and we’ve been traveling quite a bit. My husband and I decided to to take it slow and enjoy our time off with the kiddos having no summer camps, limiting activities & lessons of any sort. We spend most of our time outdoors, have our Quran lessons, do a sheet or two of math & read to prevent the summer slide. The Deen Magazine was a beautifully fun addition to our days, giving us a substitute for our Saturday Islamic school.

Note to Parents-

You’ll have to work out which magazine (age range) works best for your child. It’s an added plus that MY DEEN MAGAZINE offers samples to help you figure out which one would work best for your child.

Overall this magazine is a brilliant resource and I hope to see more cut and paste activities as well as projects for my young ones, iA.

Prayers for this beautiful venture aimed at Lil’ Muslims and a special thanks to the creators of Deen Magazine. Jzk Khair for sending me free copies in exchange for honest reviews.

Happy Magazine Subscription,

Mimi.

Little Muslim Books | REVIEWS

Inspiring Mini Muslims, One Board book At A Time.

Little Muslim Books is an early literacy venture, aimed to creatively educate your youngest folk for deen & dunya in an entertaining way. 
ZARA & HAKEEM SERIES
Written by Shabeena Rehman Illustrated by Kevin Payne
Published by Little Muslim Books in 2018  

The books are comfortably chunky, a great fit for your little ones to flip right through. The illustrations are colorfully done & will not only put a smile to your little ones mouth but also a string of questions. I adore books that encourage conversation/questions & the Zara & Hakeem series did just that. They also have the aspect of repetitive terminology; perfect aimed to increase your little ones vocabulary.
The board book series also shows a family system where the Grandparents, Parents & children live together. (This is a living style, common to most South Asian people). That means Zara & Hakeem’s adventures revolve around all these characters relatable for baby.
I haven’t seen any board book series for Muslim Audiences with the same characters & I feel this would be an excellent resource to help inculcate the love for reading. Where little readers grow to love these little characters. They learn important life lessons with them in every book.
How many times have we seen this happen to us & readers around us?
Countless!

Hakeem learns As-salamualaikum! Written By: Shabeena Rehman Illustrated by: Kevin Payne
Our Rating: (5/5)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Hakeem learns the meaning of Salam & decides to practice his newly learnt lesson at a family trip to the zoo. An adventurous tale in which Hakeem greets every animal.
Yes, even crocodiles & lions. Read along as baby holds her breath in this action-packed journey.
Zara & Hakeem Learn Alhamdullilah
Written by Shabeena Rehman
Illustrated by Kevin Payne

Our Rating: (5/5) ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A book with two important lessons! Your little one will learn the word “Alhamdullilah” alongside Zara & Hakeem as Mummy falls ill & the entire household goes through a bout of sneezing.
Read along & see how Zara & Hakeem considerately help their grandparents & dad, while Mummy is sick.
This book just like the previous one, uses the story-plot to repeat the term “Alhamdullilah” every time someone sneezes in the family. The repetition- method is an extremely effective one & & is bound to help with vocabulary building.
Things to Learn & See
My First Picture & Words
Book by: Shabeena Rehman & James Tudhope
Published in 2018 by Little Muslim Books
Our Rating: (5/5)
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
We all know of many board books that introduce basic terminology to babies & tots. Just like those, this book is designed for the same exact purpose.
Teaching children about the first objects or places they should know about; with the inclusion of words like Zam Zam, & places like the Kaaba.
The book has photographic images & shows fruits, eatables, drinks, colors, numbers, arabic alphabet, places to go & everyday objects baby can identify.
Topics the book covers are as follows;
Food & Drink,
Flowers,
Toys,
Nature,
Praying,
Mosque,
Mecca,
Medina,
Learning Tools,  
Using your Hands,
Actions for Praying,
Shapes,
Colors,
Numbers &
the Arabic Alphabet.

*******
I’d like to thank Little Muslim Books for sending me free book copies in exchange for honest reviews. All thoughts are my own & I wish this awesome mommy venture the best.
Happy Board Book Reading,
Mimi.  🙂
PS: Make early literacy count by adding these treasures to your shelf.

It’s Jummah! |REVIEW

It’s Jummah!

The SUNNAH AND ETIQUETTES OF FRIDAY!

Teach your child about the Special Sunnahs of this Extra Special Day.

Written by: Najia Rastgar & Lyazzat Mukhangaliyev

Illustrated by Zainab Irshad
Recommended Ages:Birth-2 
Rating- [4/5]
Available for purchase at the following links, 2 CURIOUS HEARTS and AMAZON
We are all familiar with the the lifelong benefits of early literacy and the pivotal role they play in a child’s scholastic achievements.
We are also keen on providing resources to our future bookworms & many a times as parents have felt the lack of Muslim resources.
The gaping hole in Muslim Baby Literature was felt by the ladies behind, 2CURIOUS HEARTS & their venture to fill the gap was a requirement for parents & young ones everywhere. Read into their STORY and find out more about their vision and more board-book wonder).
REVIEW-
A colorfully fun, sweet and straight-forward board book, perfect to teach your lil’ ones about the etiquettes of Jummah.
My first thoughts when I glanced at the cover & book title?
How wonderful! Finally, a board book for babies about Jummah Prayers. (Had never before seen baby literature pertaining to JUMMAH).
I actually double-checked the internet, and I guess it’s safe to say that this is the first board-book to cover Friday Prayers, for our tiniest readers. 
While reading it to STORY MONSTER (for those of you who don’t know, he’s the littlest, most tireless reader of the family), realization struck!
I had never told him the name of the day we attempted to go to the mosque weekly, as a family! I took that as the perfect opportunity and explained, not sure he understood) but plan to make it a point to read this book before starting our Friday Sunnah’s every week, iA. That is exactly what makes having this book special! A little book-reading Jummah tradition every Friday! Something to lay the emphasis on the weekly rituals with a fun and poetic start.
Why poetic, you say?
Well, that’s another story. After completion, we re-read it, this time singing as we paused at every page, gaining meaning with every illustration. I found STORY MONSTER merrily singing to himself (best as he could) while flipping through the pages afterwards. ( I totally recommend singing with this book).
Check out my insta-stories later this week for an inside scoop of the book. Thank you so much to 2CURIOUS HEARTS for sending me this book to review.
Wishing your team the very best.
Happy Jummah always,
Mimi. 😊

Meet Yasmin | REVIEW

Art by: Hatem Note: Review of Advance Reader Copy Provided by Capstone | Book Releases August 1, 2018Tales With Mimi Book Rating:

Four Story Titles-

Yasmin the Explorer: After reading about explorers with her Baba, Yasmin decides to become one herself! Now all she needs is a map for her explorations. Find out what adventures or misadventures await her.

Yasmin the Painter: An art competition, a special prize, and Yasmin, the Painter. Time for some creativity! Join Yasmin for her artsier pursuit!

Yasmin the Builder: Building a city for a class project, sounds exciting! With a lack of ideas, will Yasmin be able to pull through this time?

Yasmin the Fashionista: Grandparents, boredom and no parents for Yasmin, all equate to a whole new level of fun or follies? Laugh and smile while you read this last story.

Meet Yasmin, is a beautifully diverse chapter book, one that provides a look into the life of your average Pakistani-American family. 

Yasmin, is a charmingly exuberant, second grader and her stories fully captivated my children. Upon hearing Yasmin call her father, “Baba”(they use that for their Father too), my older two questioned in unison, “She calls her Dad, Baba?” When I told them Yasmin was a Pakistani like them,  their little faces lit up as they hung onto every word till the very end. My little audience’s reactions were priceless at Yasmin’s hilariously illustrated expressions throughout the book.

Yasmin is a curiously adventurous kid, one who makes mistakes, the perfect character-blend for the independent, emergent, or even reluctant reader to stay intrigued. Her escapades have inspired our household to explore, build and have our very own Eid Show after Ramadan! Don’t you just love a book that sparks kid creativity?

I highly recommend this book which seems to be a family favorite in our household already. This book is a must-have for all home, public and classroom libraries. I thank Capstone Publishing & the Author, Saadia Faruqi for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Wait, there’s more good news-

It’s always hard to bid Farewell to a good book. The Author has thoughtfully ended the book with some extra-content for the reader, hence making it easier to part with the book. Content includes a Craft, Facts About Pakistan, a recipe, an Urdu Glossary and a Think About It, Talk About It section.

Saadia Faruqi | http://www.saadiafaruqi.com/

Hatem Aly | https://www.metahatem.com/

Picture Window Books
An imprint of Capstone
http://mycapstone.com/

Happy Reading,

Mimi.

To the Parent of the Reluctant Reader

IMG_8120
Reluctant Reader turned Reader, reading while waiting for her food.

Dear Parent of the Reluctant Reader,

I feel you.

I know what it is to be you.

I have walked in your shoes not too long ago.

Do not look at my journey now for there is a past to every present.

One of the things I’m absolutely sure about in my life is that of my unwavering love for books. I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember.

My mom was an avid reader and a magical storyteller (the stories she told us were in Urdu). In our household library trips were several times a week and it was impossible not to love books.

Somewhere along the way, I developed an understanding that the love for books came naturally and was something that was passed on from parents to children.

So you’ll believe me when I tell you it was beyond difficult for me to see my daughter as a reluctant reader.

It was harder when she shook her head in disapproval at the sight of a book.

Her soft but firm no,  had me wondering if my child would lead a life devoid of the joys of literature.

Call me bonkers, but as a first time mom I think I was really hard on myself and thought my child’s actions were somehow foretelling her future.

I was the one that lacked foresight and the knowledge that children go through too many phases to count and that they ALL develop differently.

It’s the parents that can’t give up for wanting the best for their child.

I remembered leaving things as they were for a while and read with my younger son who seemed to be all about books.

What I didn’t leave was our everyday bedtime story, something the children always welcomed wholeheartedly.

Well after about two years I can say that my daughter did become quite the reader.

She devoured book after book, reading away in the night light. I would feign disapproval and would tell her it was past her bedtime (all the while feeling elated by the all too familiar version of myself looking back at me).

Looking back I can see what I was leaving out of the equation and areas I was fulfilling to help inculcate the love of reading. (My next post about this).

Parents, please do not despair because it is too early to decide your child’s permanent likes and dislikes.

It is too early to give them a label.

If my child can go from reluctant reader to reader, yours can too!

It is too early to give up. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog post,

“How to Raise a Reader?”

Keep reading,

Mimi/Mehreen

P.S: I have a bunch of nicknames.

P.P.S: I am not an expert on child literacy, just penning down my experience with kiddos.

 

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