Book Review: A Little Tree Goes for Hajj |

Book Review: A Little Tree Goes for Hajj

There was once a time when it was difficult to find children’s book that featured Muslim characters and Islamic guidance. Alhamdulillah, there are lots more resources available now, and Muslim parents are likely to be able to locate a title that focuses on relevant content in both an entertaining and educational way. With Hajj season on the horizon, now is the time to get good books in the hands of parents and children. A Little Tree Goes for Hajj is a good place to start.

Written and beautifully illustrated by Eman Salam, the book teaches young children about the Hajj rituals in an imaginative way. The central character is actually a little tree, a sapling who dreams of travel. At the top of his wish list, is a visit to Mecca to see that Kaaba. Of course, there are challenges with that goal, the most obvious that he is a tree, firmly rooted in the ground. (Older children may find this premise unbelievable.) Little Tree’s mother suggests making duaa to Allah.

As the short story progresses, a young man happens upon the tree while hurrying to set sail on his own travels. The little tree learns that the man is making the pilgrimage to Hajj and the two strike up a friendship that resonates throughout the remainder of the book. He ends up delicately placing the young tree in a basket and off to Hajj they go together. 

The book is not a step-to-step primer on Hajj. Instead, there are thoughtful references and illustrations that mention various elements such as donning the ihram garment, making tawaf, running between Safa and Marwa, shaving of the head (or leaves!), making duaa at Mount Arafat, stoning the Jamarat, and drinking Zamzam water. There is also a nice glossary of terms included that enables continued learning after the story is read. Parents can share these details at their discretion when they are age-appropriate.

A Little Tree Goes for Hajj is not the only book that families will need to reiterate the importance and the beauty of the fifth pillar of Islam. But it is a fun way to introduce young children to the Hajj journey and begin the lifelong process of sparking a yearning to make the pilgrimage a priority in their lifetimes. The book is also bilingual, written in both English and Arabic. 

If you like this format, there are other books featuring Little Tree by the author that would make great Eid gifts. Visit the publisher Compass Books to make a purchase for your home or school and support not only a Muslim author but also another Muslim business in the process.

Zahirah Lynn Eppard is the managing editor of the Muslim Home parenting newsletter project. As Sound Vision’s Director of Religious Education, she has also spearheaded the production of more than 400 online classes serving children ages 3-12 in the Adam’s World and Colors of Islam Clubs. Eppard has also worked in the field of education as a teacher, homeschooler, and Islamic school principal, as a marital and crisis intervention counselor, and as a lobbyist, and social justice activist. She lives with her husband, children, and grandchildren in Maryland.

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