Night of the Moon / Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets

With the month of Ramadan starting soon here are two lovely picture books to add to your early years or KS1 class collection:-

Night of the Moon
Hena Khan and Julie Paschkis
Chronicle Books
There’s a slither of a new moon in the sky and Yasmeen’s mother reminds her that it heralds the start of the month of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar.

We then follow 7 year-old Yasmeen and her family through the month as the moon waxes and wanes and the girl expands her understanding of what Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr mean.

All the while, the author skilfully integrates information about the celebrations with the warmth of Yasmeen’s love of family and friends as she talks to her mother about fasting, attends family parties, goes to the mosque

and learns about the importance of sharing during Ramadan.

Eventually there is no moon in the night sky and Yasmeen knows that the next night will be the Night of the Moon signifying the end of Ramadan and the much-anticipated Eid-ul-Fitr.

At sunset Yasmeen’s family go to the community centre for a special Night of the Moon celebration and from one of the stalls her mum buys new clothes for the family to wear on the day of Eid.

Back home Yasmeen has her hands decorated with beautiful Mehndi patterns …

and finally next morning it’s time to wish everyone “Eid Mubarak”.

What makes this book so arrestingly gorgeous is Julie Paschkis’ richly coloured gouache paintings bordered with motifs and designs borrowed from Islamic art.

Children of all faiths and none can enjoy sharing in the young girl’s joy in celebrating her faith and its traditions.

a Muslim family celebrates

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets
Hena Khan and Mehrdokht Amini
Chronicle Books

Following on from Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, the author and illustrator explore both shapes and some cultural and religious aspects of the Muslim world.

Most shapes are two dimensional – the rectangle of the mosque’s wooden door; the octagonal pond surrounding a fountain; the triangular sides of the mimbar’s stairs.

There’s a beautiful square garden fragrant with sweet smelling oranges; the large drum used on festive occasions – a daff – is circular; a painted tile hexagonal; the table an oval and there’s a diamond design on the child narrator’s new Eid kaftan.

Others such as the cone shaped tip of the minaret are 3D and the Ka’aba stone is an enormous cube shape.

So much beauty / in the shapes that I see / adds to my faith / and the world around me.” So concludes the narrator at the end of the book after which comes a helpful glossary in which I discovered that ‘ayah’ used here is a verse from the Quran rather than the meaning ‘nursemaid’ that I’m familiar with.

Mehrdokht Amini’s illustrations, which accompany Hena Khan’s straightforward rhyming text portray Muslims from a number of countries, each spread representing a different country, thus encompassing the cultural diversity of Islam.

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