English & Arabic
M.O. Yuksel & Hatem Aly
this book is beautifully illustrated, and it’s clear that a trip to a mosque (or masjid) brings author m.o. yuksel great joy. I personally learned a lot, I have a very basic working knowledge of the history and practices of Islam. I’ve been to a mosque for a few community events, but that’s it. when living in Boston, I used to bike past a mosque early in the morning and loved hearing the calls to prayer from the loudspeakers, especially during Ramadan the bike path would be filled with folks walking to pray before sunrise.
inside this book is rich a beautiful language, brilliantly diverse illustrations, and a reverence for the time spent in this building as a community. Arabic words are sprinkled throughout the book and the overarching message is one of happiness, acceptance, and joy.
I also want to point out another individual, Felicity (on Instagram as @palettebyfelicity) is a Muslim woman and talks about how most Muslim folks don’t call a mosque a mosque, but more often use the term masjid (“mahz-jid”). Felicity has a video that’s around 7 minutes long, and absolutely worth watching. she talks about wondering why the term “mosque” was used, and if it was just to make Western audiences more comfortable and familiar with terminology used in the book. this underscores the important of own voices reviewers, because I’m not Muslim and wouldn’t have known any of this without Felicity taking the time to educate everyone who follows her on Instagram.
this book was kindly sent by Harper Kids, but all opinions and decision to review is my own.
M.O. Yuksel is a multi-cultural children’s book author with a passion for research and writing stories about diverse historical figures, whimsical characters, and fascinating cultures. She has a B.A. in English Literature from Fordham University and an M.A. in Central Asian History and International Affairs from Columbia University.
When not writing, M.O. Yuksel is usually on the soccer field cheering for her kids, or traveling to exotic places and immersing herself in the local culture. She loves nature, bike riding, and eating shameless amounts of chocolate. She teaches yoga and meditation when she’s not bouncing off the walls from the sugar-high of indulging in too much chocolate. Once in a while, she’ll venture to teach her friends how to pronounce her real name – Munevver (Mar-vel-ous). But her friends never make it past the Mar and prefer to use her nickname – Mindy.
She has written several picture books and a middle-grade novel. She can’t wait to share them with you in the near future.
“Hello! My name is Hatem Aly and I am an Egyptian-born illustrator whose work has been featured on television and in multiple publications worldwide. I currently live in New Brunswick, Canada, with my wife, son, and more pets than people. When I am not dealing with dogs barking and blank pieces of paper waiting to be filled, I draw, a lot. One of the books I drew is The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz which won awards despite illustrations of a farting dragon, a 2 headed cat and stinky cheese.
Other books I illustrated are: Taksheera (Words by: Naseeba Alozeibi), and The Giant Egg (by: Thuraya Khaled)”