Book Review: Eliyas Explains Angels |

Book Review: Eliyas Explains Angels

There are all different ways that parents teach their children about religious principles and concepts. Books are one of those go-to resources. And when it comes to teaching fundamentals of Islam with both detail and creativity, prize-winning author Zanib Mian is a favorite.

Her Eliyas Explains series is designed for Muslim kids ages 6-12 who are reading on their own. The chapter books are filled with child-friendly doodles and zainy typefaces (thanks to Illustrator Daniel Hills) that appeal to readers of all ages. But it’s the way the story meanders through the routines of daily life to teach about meaningful and complex topics that makes these books education gold.

In the first book in the series Eliyas Explains Angels, our young protagonist learns about angels during a late-night visit to the kitchen. Over a glass of milk and slightly-not-sweet-enough chocolate chip cookies, Eliyas strikes up a casual discussion about outer space with his Dad. He was expecting to learn more about aliens and is blown away to learn that, rather than being filled with a whole lot of nothing, every inch of space is taken up with angels. The dynamic duo goes on to discuss basic details about our unseen companions - what they are made of, how big they are and how many wings they have, how strong they are, what kind of jobs they perform, and other cool things angels do. Mostly, they are not at all like humans!

Just when Eliyas begins to revel in having Dad “all to myself FOR ONCE,” in walks his little brother Yusuf. In a weak moment, Eliyas throws a slightly-not-sweet-enough chocolate chip cookie at him. And then learns an even bigger lesson, that two angels are assigned to each of us for protection, in front of and behind us. And that is super cool!

Mian covers lots of territory in these 80+ pages. Eliyas takes the lessons he has learned and teaches young readers all about angels with familiar scenes that depict sibling rivalry, examples of naughtiness, and good deeds. The details also pique interest and raise consciousness about the unseen. And actions can spring from that deeper understanding. Things like making duaa to bring more angels into our homes and defend us when we are outside of it.

Parents should take advantage of the lessons in Eliyas Explains Angels to teach and to reinforce the blessings of our unseen companions and inspire attention to the records they are keeping of our every action. That is a reminder that is important to children (and the adults who love them)!

Check out more titles in Zanib Mian’s library of children’s books, including Eliyas Explains Miracles, at Muslim Children's Books.

 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 500 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 marriage and crisis intervention counselor, as a lobbyist, and social justice activist. She lives with her husband and six children in Maryland.

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