Princess Siyana's Pen - Book Review

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I had promised a review on Princess Siyana’s Pen a while back – here it is!

Great for Eid gifts perhaps?! 😉

“This recently published picture book is a keeper! With beautiful colour-rich illustrations and a gripping story line to boot, it is sure to captivate young and old readers alike – I know I certainly wanted to know what happened. 🙂

The story follows the tried and tested formula of many fairy tales, and so in essence will be familiar to children – however, there are morals and values infused within every page, adding that oh-so-special Islamic essence. Princes Siyana is a captivating main character, who charms as well as leads through example and character; her bravery and courage makes her a great role-model for all our children, but our daughters in particular. Shargor is the typical evil villain, with a plot to gain power and riches, impoverishing others as he does. And I love the touch of the side-kick, Pepe the parrot, who adds light humour to it all! It is clear that Zainab has drawn on her own experiences to write this story, which makes it all the more personal and endearing.

As the story progresses, several concepts are touched upon in a subtle way – talking to Allah through the heart as well as the pen, hijab and the importance of inner beauty, trusting in Allah, kindness, helping others and forgiveness, amongst others. All in all, with these concepts weaved in to an adventure story with remarkable characters, Princess Siyana makes an ideal book for our children’s bookshelves.”

Book Review: House of Ibn Kathir

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Boarding school stories grip young readers in a unique sort of way – with the majority of children not going to boarding schools, it provides an insight into a totally different world; indeed, some of the greatest series have been based in boarding schools, Harry Potter, The Worst Witch and Malory Towers to name a few!

Alhamdulillah Muslims ventured into this world through Khadija Academy (See: http://www.bibipublishing.co.uk/Zahra-s-First-Term.html), and now here is one based on a boarding school for boys!

“It’s Yusif’s first time away from home. The Dar Al Ilm Academt seemed to be the ideal place for him to pursue his studies and achieve one of his lifelong ambitions – to memorise the Qur’an, or so his parents had decided…

However, just when he thought he was settling in, Yusif finds himself with more on his hands than he had bargained for. When mysterious events start happening around the school, it begins to seem as if Dar Al Ilm has more in store for him than he had ever imagined.”

My 9 year old loved this book and devoured it in a few hours – we look forward to the sequel!

Book Review: Alif, Baa, Taa of Kerbala

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This looks like a great resource for the coming months… check out details below:

‘With the month of Muharram just around the corner where believers young and old will gather in numbers to commemorate the tragic events of Kerbala, let us help keep the flame alive in the youngest members of our community by introducing them to the story of Kerbala through the unique publication of the Islamic Publishing House, “The Alif, Baa, Taa of Kerbala.”

To see full color samples of the pages go to this link: http://www.al-mubin.org/index.php/full-length-books/172-alif-baa-taa-of-kerbala

Take in a visual presentation of this book by our YouTube promotional video for this book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3AF4YukU7Q

Book review: Isa the Incredible climbs Mount Mushkil

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As we are between series, I thought we should do a few more book reviews!

I just received this book and I LOVE it!! Here is the blurb:

“LIttle Isa the Ant loves the playground. But he’s too scared to climb the playground’s great big hill, Mount Mushkil! No matter how hard he tries, he can’t follow his brothers and sisters to the top. This makes him sad. When the mean ants from school laugh at him, he feels worse. Then a wise old any teaches Isa the secret of climbing Mount Mushkil. But can Isa believe hard enough to make it to the top? Will the secret really help Isa?”

This story is inspired by the bravery of Ali ibn Abu Talib, and is one that will actually resonate with both young and old. It was a great reminder to me to use the ‘secret’ in my own life when faced with any trouble, and I will definitely by trying to implement it as well as helping my children learn it too!

I won’t spoil the essence of the book by revealing the ‘secret’, but do check it out! The images are bold and clear, perfect for little ones. And Isa the Ant’s dilemma is one that will have been faced by many children, if not all at some point in their lives.

Check the Twelver Kids website out for an interactive playground and more: http://www.twelverkids.com/
Also available from Taqwa Media: http://www.taqwamedia.com/shop/index.php/taqwa-kids/isa-the-incredible-climbs-mount-mushkil.html

Hajj Ideas 4

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Check this out! One creative mum couldn’t find the book on Hajj she needed for her children so decided to create her own!

“ZAHRA & ZAKI GO FOR HAJJ

I looked very hard for a book that would explain the meaning behind the rituals of Hajj to my kids, but couldn’t find one so I decided to write a story for them (starring them) that would stretch their imagination, explain the rituals sequentially AND convey some of the wonderful concepts Allah has hidden away behind the rituals of Hajj.

The story is set on a journey from home to Makkah and in the lives of two very special kids, Zahra and Zaki, who are invited to perform Hajj. It is divided into sections to make it easier to read. Probably suitable for 4+, as I have to summarise quite a bit for my three year old.

Excuse the amateur illustrations, I tried really really hard! :-S

Read it here: http://www.busymummys.co.uk/archives/zahra-and-zaki-go-for-hajj

ACTIVITY WITH THIS STORY

InshA after familiarising ourselves with the steps in Hajj, we’ll undertake a Hajj role play at home. Have you done a Hajj simulation? would love to hear how you did it!
We have picked the following venues for the various rituals:
Ehraam wearing – Bedroom with covered mirror
Arafaat – Basement (as it is completely empty) with no distractions
Muzdalifa – Under the dining table with glow in the dark stars stuck under the table
Jamaraat – backyard; pelting at three trees
Sacrifice and Halaq – Kitchen, to sacrifice a balloon sheep
Tawaaf – Playroom with a big Kaaba model
Saee – Front yard; the front steps and a plant pot will be our mountains
Mina – Living room”

Back to School Idea 4

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Thank you www.busymummys.co.uk for this idea!

The Kissing Hand – Easing morning drop off the gentle and loving way!

The first two days of school were drenched in tears. So I decided to read them this book I’d been recommended by a friend a few months ago, when my daughter was going through separation anxiety issues, out of nowhere (at age 4!!)

So we read the book, ‘The Kissing Hand’ about a raccoon Chester who did not want to go to school. It was as if the book was written just for my kids! Chester said the exact same words my kids used as pleas to stay at home.

I wanted to draw a heart on their palm, but wasn’t sure of school rules, so we decided to use a sticker that represented the ‘Kissing Hand’ to keep with them while they were at school to give them comfort and ease saying Khudahafiz (goodbye) at drop off.

My daughter chose a butterfly and my son wanted a star, none of them wanted hearts. My daughter held it in her hand, which she promised to hide in her pocket when at school, while my son wanted it stuck on his cardigan. I kissed it and wrote three things on there.

A – that Allah is always looking out for you and protects you
AB – the Ahlulbayt are with you, guiding you, since we recite Salawat in the mornings
M+P – Mummy + Papa love you very much and will come to pick you up very soon.
To say the least, there were more smiles than frowns at drop off today…

And tears? What tears? They were nowhere to be seen

You could use henna, tattoos, stickers, etc, depending on the school policy. Hide them in their pockets or pencil cases, stick them on the inside of the cardigan or even their vests, where they know where it is but it is away from other kids’ eyes so they don’t get questioned.

If you can’t get hold of this wonderful book, checkout this video clip where this lady reads out the book for kids.

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