Book Review: Hannah and the Ramadan

Book Review: Hannah and the Ramadan

As Muslims all around the world enter the third week of the holiest month of the year, we have no doubt that adjustments have been made to daily schedules to incorporate more opportunities for worship and strengthen the bond with Allah subhanahu wa talla, the Most Glorified, The Most High. Ramadan is a time of renewal of faith, time for giving, charity, sharing, engaging, remembering those in need, and reaching out. Moreover, it is a chance to teach the next generation of Muslims the deeper meanings of the spirit of Ramadan. Author Qasim Rashid encompasses this and much more in Hannah and the Ramadan Gift

In this story, we follow eight-year-old Hannah in what she was hoping would be her first Ramadan of fasting. Hannah wakes up with her family before dawn to eat sehri, the pre-dawn meal of Ramadan, and is disappointed when Dada Jaan tells her fasting is for grown-ups. Hannah wants to participate and celebrate with her family by fasting but her grandfather tells her she can instead celebrate Ramadan “by saving the world.” Hannah is a little confused by this concept yet throughout Ramadan (and the story) her grandfather teaches her important lessons about how good deeds and kindness toward our neighbors, friends, and classmates are how we can change the world. Dada Jaan and Hannah deliver canned goods to the local soup kitchen, Hannah helps her friend Maria search for her lost necklace, the duo donates clothing to a local shelter, at school Hannah saves her classmate's project from breaking, and she visits a new neighbor even thorough she initially resisted. Dada Jaan lovingly imparts lessons behind each action and even shares how he built relationships as a newly arrived Pakistani immigrant years ago. 

Hannah and the Ramadan Gift by Qasim Rashid and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel can inspire our youth to be agents for change and make a difference in their community by bringing joy and reducing hardship for others. 

My children and I really enjoyed reading this book together and delving into the lessons taught. The bright, animation-style illustrations feature a diverse cast and thoughtful cultural details that enrich the setting. The ups and downs and uncertain moments of Hannah offer readers a relatable character in familiar situations where children can learn about character-building opportunities in Ramadan and Islam in general. It is definitely a book we can revisit every year.

Miriam Mohamed is a mother to seven children and a granny to two cats!  She loves trying new things and learning cool facts. She has taught in an Islamic school setting, has experience assisting children with special needs, and enjoys volunteering and being a part of the community. Miriam lives in Chicago with her beautiful flowering cherry tree and big family.


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