Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

Written by: Hena Khan

Illustrated by: Mehrdokht Amini

For Ages: Infant and Up

Language: English and Arabic

Topics Covered: Muslim Culture, Historic Narratives, Islam, Global Community, Geometry and Shapes.

Summary: This rhyming book intertwines shapes with Muslim culture and religion.  Additionally, each page features a different country where an Islamic community exists and thrives.  This aspect shows the true diversity of the religion and introduces the reader to Arabic terminology.  Shapes covered include: hexagon, triangle, rectangle, octagon, and oval.  Muslim and Arabic terminology introduced includes: iftar, jannah, the Ka’aba, and salaam.  This themed book is an interesting way to combine several topics at once, and the illustrations are beautiful.  For an individual that does not follow this religion, it is a helpful introduction a new global community.  The only point of improvement that could be noted is although that back of the book says a different country is featured on each set of pages, they are not labeled.  The illustrations are incredibly diverse, but a signifier would be helpful for a reader that does not know the deeper cultural meaning for these symbols written about.  There is a helpful glossary in the back of the book of the Arabic words used throughout.

Reflection Questions:

  • What other shapes do you know that aren’t in this book?
  • Have you ever been to any of these places mentioned in the book, like a mosque?
  • The characters in the book seem very happy celebrating their faith, does your family celebrate their beliefs in any way?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Many different people all over the world share religions.  What are some different holidays people in the class celebrate?
  • Write your own book teaching a subject you know a lot about.  Animals, vegetables, trees, what do you want people to know more about?

About the Author & the Illustrator:

hena khanHena Khan is a Pakistani-American Muslim who was born and raised in Maryland, and enjoys sharing and writing about her culture and religion. She has also written about a bunch of other topics, from spies to space travel, that take her out of her reality and on adventures. While not quite as thrilling, she’s had a few adventures of her own, managed to get to some pretty fantastic places on our planet, and met incredible people. She’s slightly obsessed with Spain, ceramic tiles and pottery, food, flamenco, and good coffee. When she’s not cooking up a story, she’s often actually cooking food or baking treats. She also spends time writing and editing for international organizations that work to improve the health and lives of people around the world.

mehrdokt aminiMehrdokht Amini has illustrated several books for children including Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor, which won the 2016 Children’s Africana Best Book Award, and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan. She has illustrated books published in Iran, Poland, Korea, Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Mehrdokht grew up in Iran and now lives in Surrey, England. Visit her website at MyArt2C.com!

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