Category: Blog (page 2 of 3)

Tips to Encourage a Reluctant Reader

This piece was written by Umm Nusaybah, a stay at home mum to three beautiful blessings. She is an ardent reader and enthusiast of childrens literature and aspiring author. These handy tips will help any reluctant reader develop a stronger connection to books and reading. 

Tips to Encourage a Reluctant Reader

1. Let them be boss!

No two children are the same, and their interests vary immensely. Let them choose what they want to read. Don’t worry too much about what they pick initially (within reason) there’s always that one place to start which creates stepping stones to making reading fun!

2. Create opportunities for ‘ accidental’ reading

Some children might find the sit down and read time a bit daunting, especially if they are not fluent readers. Creating opportunities for reading whether it is the menu at a restaurant or the directions to board games or even being a co- pilot in the car by helping you read street names to find your way around.

3. Pair up

Team up with like minded families and form a book club where children can model good reading habits to each other and at the same time enhance their reading experience by sharing their thoughts along the way. This will also provide parents an opportunity to give their input on various topics relevant to the book of choice in a fun relaxed atmosphere.

4. Be a role model

We all know as parents, children do as they see not as they’re told. So if you want them to pick up a book and read, make sure you are doing the same too!

5. Think outside the box

Go on a second hand books scavenger hunt! Hit the op shops or garage sales in your area. Make it an outing exclusively with your child. Who knows you might find hidden gems from your childhood that you can share with your child.

6. Make reading a pleasurable experience

Audiobooks are an invaluable resource to encourage active listening and critical thinking skills, which are both necessary for reading and comprehension. If you can find one with a copy of the book, that’s even better. Listen in the car or during quiet time at home, the sound effects and narrations bring books to life.

7 . Create a reading nook

Choose a space in your home with ample natural light and minimal distractions and involve your child in transforming it into a cozy reading nook. Adding pillows, beanbags, low lying bookshelves or other items can help them get away from the desk and get comfortable reading!

8. Connect them to books

Show them that books can be a means of learning a new skill or just be plain old silly. Does your child like to get creative in the art corner? Then introduce them to books with step-by-step instructions on creating childhood masterpieces. Do they have a silly sense of humor? Tell them a joke or riddle and then pull out the book you got it from and take turns making each other laugh.

9. Family Reading Night

We’ve all heard of a family movie night, but why not put a spin on it and make it a family reading night? Pick a book or series that you will all enjoy, cook up some nibbles and sit down and read together. No matter what his or her age, everyone enjoys listening to a story!

10. Create Incentives

If your kids are big on screen time, take them to the on-screen adaptation of a children’s classic once they’ve finished reading it.

Please feel free share your tips on how you inculcate the love of reading in your household.

Let kids be kids, let there be mess and let it go

Zanib Mian is the founder of Sweet Apple Publishers and author of a number of popular picture books. Her latest book, releasing in June insha Allah, is called It Must Have Been You.

She has kindly written this reminder for us, which also serves as a prelude to her new book.

FINAL front cover

Note: This isn’t the Frozen let it go, well maybe it is…

She had just spent a long and hard day at work, picked up the kids from school, brought them home, fed them, cleaned up, cooked dinner and took the laundry off the line. Finally, she put her aching feet up with a well-deserved cup of tea, when her eldest came complaining about what the little one has done. She goes to investigate and finds the clean laundry all over the living room; from trousers on the table and blouses on the bookshelf, to socks on the sofa and leggings on the lamps. Her two year old shoots her the happiest smile; unquestionably proud of his handiwork. But to her, this is not cute. She immediately begins to yell about how naughty the child has been.
Cute little boy got messy eating strawberry

In another scenario, a father is at home on his day off from work. He feels it’s a very well-deserved day off. He is looking forward to some peaceful time with the book he’s been meaning to read. He has only just read the first couple of paragraphs when clang clang clang! A most ear piercingly loud sound of metal banging against metal shatters the peace he had only just begun to enjoy. He shoots up from his arm chair with an instant will to make it stop and punish the culprit. Upon locating the culprit—who is now looking guiltily towards the storming six foot tall heat approaching—he snatches the two pot lids from his child’s hands while simultaneously yelling about how naughty the child has been.

scary man

All too familiar? We can all narrate countless similar situations, where our children have done things to frustrate us and the immediate effect has been yelling and punishing.

There are many things common in both scenarios. Let’s focus on the following two: (a) the parent feels their moment of rest (or attention towards a task) is well-deserved and (b) there is yelling about how naughty the child has been. Remember these, I will come back to them.

Let’s look at both scenarios now from the child’s point of view.

A child spots that wonderful basket of fresh, fluffy, wonderful smelling clothes in the living room. The one his mum always shoos him away from. Since Mum is nowhere in sight, the child takes a closer look. He thinks it’s a most exciting pile of clothes; soft and colourful. Then he discovers that throwing one of the items out of the basket is rather fun. So he throws them all one at a time, experiencing extreme pleasure at the sight and touch of each one. He even learns something about the physical laws of air resistance. That was so much fun that the child decides to continue by throwing the laundry now as far as possible. At times running up to an item of furniture to throw it there. Just then his mother comes in and he lets her know how excited he is by this new experience by smiling at her. But she is cross. Very cross.

The second child is home. He is bored; there is nothing to do. No nursery today. It’s rather quiet. He decides to entertain himself. He looks inside the kitchen cupboard. A nice shiny thing catches his eye. He picks it up and discovers that it feels cold and he can hold it easily by the handle. Then he notices there are two of them. He picks the other one up too. He clangs them together. A loud exciting noise is created! He loves it. That’s better! He does it again, and again. He even learns something about the properties of different materials. Just then his father comes storming in and looking extremely angry. The child doesn’t know why.

Most of the time we forget to put ourselves in the child’s shoes. The above may have given us some perspective about how the child is simply driven by innate curiosity. A healthy curiosity which is highly encouraged by developmental psychologists. A simple Google search will pull up many articles showing you how to inspire curiosity in your child. But the thing is, we don’t need to create fancy situations to do this. It’s already there, firmly rooted in their very being. All we have to do, in a safe environment is; let kids be kids, let there be mess and let it go.


Why is it so hard?

Our busy, hectic lives cause us to often deal with situations impatiently. We feel we just don’t have the energy to put up with another mess. We want to make it stop and deal with it immediately. What is really at war with each other here are the parent’s impatience and the child’s curiousity.

Now remember (a) and (b) that were common in both situations and will probably be found in any situation you can think of. Let’s consider how they are linked, and how we can alter the dynamics between them positively. If we just stop in those moments and go back to our well-deserved rest, or book reading, or cooking, or working, it will slowly dawn on us that most of those situations are not too bad. It is simply a bit of mess. We do have the energy to deal with it. Perhaps we just didn’t in the very moment that it was discovered. So leave it for a while – it’s not the end of the world. We will especially feel that we have the energy if we haven’t used it up in shouting at the child and huffing and puffing about it. So if we remember that the child probably wasn’t being naughty, they were just being healthily curious, we won’t yell at them. We will save that energy, and more importantly we won’t knock our child’s confidence to explore and learn.

Needless to say, my point here isn’t to let your children wreak havoc and get away with everything. Just for us to stop and consider the larger picture. In the long term, we will feel calmer and our children more confident.

In an article in Psychologies, Emma Cook says: ‘curiosity compels us to connect with the world, reach out and test its boundaries, establish where they end and everything else begins. For children, curiosity is inextricably linked with physical exploration, touching, controlling, creating. It’s intensely pleasurable, a sensuous adventure that is rooted in discovery.’ I think this nicely sums up both why curiosity is so important and why it can sometimes lead to mess!

My new book It Must Have Been You is a fun little story which allows us to see some of these innocent messy situations from the child’s point of view, whilst alluding to the fact that we shouldn’t always be quick to react.


Zanib Mian is the author of My Dad’s Beard. Her new book It Must Have Been You is being released on June 1st 2015 InshaAllah. 

Below are some sneak peeks of this great-looking book!





Learning the 99 names of Allah – Activity for Kids


Faiza Baig is the founder of IlmKids Place – a company that provides monthly boxes filled with learning activities, resources, ideas and inspiration all with an Islamic theme.


“IlmKidsPlace is a du’a come true. Our foundation is built out of passion for encouraging lifelong learners. We design fun, hands on activities that help nurture curiosity and creativity in children. We believe that learning and growing happens all the time, whether in the kitchen, at the playground, or on a trip.  We emphasize learning Islam with fun and creative hands-on activities that build a love for seeking knowledge.  IlmKidsPlace wanted to simplify the process for parents and educators so that they can spend quality time exploring and learning.”

Faiza was kind enough to come up with a handy activity that can be used to help teach the 99 names of Allah to children. Those who follow us on Facebook and Instagram know that we are counting down the 99 names of Allah to Ramadan.

Read on..

Trying to teach the names of Allah to children can be a challenging task. It is difficult for the children to completely grasp and comprehend the meaning of Allah’s beautiful Names. An activity that can help children better learn the names of Allah is to associate the names with an image. For example, Al-Muhyi (Giver of life), an image of a small plant sprouting can make the abstract concept more concrete for the child. Further discussion about the names will help solidify the connection.


The following activity will give the child a better understanding of the names of Alllah as well as help he or she memorize the Name and meaning. This hands-on activity will also develop fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination and enhance creativity.  A sample set of images are included with this activity that you may use as a starting point.


1) Start by selecting 10 Names of  Allah

2) Study their meaning and looks for images that can be associated with them (Magazines, newspaper, online).

3) Cut out the images and glue them on a large sheet of paper

4) Talk about and reflect on the names and there meaning

5) Continue to work on more names as the child gets comfortable

allah_names_images2 allah_names_images1



Use the images above as a starting point and then continue by finding your own. Involve your children in the process too and watch how this will make them appreciate and ponder on everything they come across.


More about IlmKids Place

“Our team includes highly educated professionals with a masters in education pursuing her doctorate in education, bachelors in psychology pursuing her doctorate in learning development.  Further, they have Montessori and developmental psychology training and have worked in a Montessori school and Islamic School settings.

Our advisory board includes experts in general and special education, psychology, art, nutrition and science to ensure we’re delivering appropriate and hands on projects. Our child development advisers review our activities to ensure they are appealing, enriching and authentic according to Quran and Sunnah. Our dedicated team hopes to bring delight in every box. We feel privileged to be given the opportunity from Allah to put a share in enriching the Ummah.”

IlmKids Place do ship worldwide. Contact them for options.

You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.

3 Times the FUN – with Colouring Pages

My friend Faaiza of Modest Munchies has helped me immensely through this READ Little Muslims journey. It is only fitting then, to have her as our very first GUEST BLOGGER!

Read On…

3 Times the Fun with colouring pages



My name is Faaiza and I blog at Modest Munchies , a food and baking blog. As a mum and teacher, it has also become an outlet for me to share some kids crafts and activities that I do with my son.

Today, I am here to tell you that colouring pages can be so much more than just a colouring activity. We all know them, we love them and they’re a great way to keep kids occupied. After a while colouring in can become boring, especially when all you do is colour. My 4 year old is at this stage now.

Using the Faatimah and Ahmed free activity book  as inspiration, I’ve put together a 3 crafts you can do with colouring in pages that go beyond just colouring. Try these with your kids for something a little more involved and fun.


  1. Make a mixed media art piece:

This one is fun, and can really get kids unleashing their creative side


You’ll need:

-a colouring in page


-pieces of mutli coloured/textured paper

-craft supplies (think buttons, ribbon, popsicle sticks, you don’t even need to buy anything, go into the yard and get sticks and leaves and anything else you can find)



Give kids the glue, paper and supplies and let them go crazy, sticking and gluing and having fun.


Here are 2 we’ve done in the past:

A rainbow collage from the Faatimah and Ahmed free activity bookRainbow colouring in activity

and this mosque art landscape that was used in a Ramadan craft party  as well as a charity playdate.

Mixed Media Mosque Art

Tip: use colouring pages with bigger shapes for smaller children, this will be easier for their little hands.


  1. Make a puppet:

If your colouring pages contain people or even animals, you can easily turn them into little puppets.


You’ll need:

  • colouring in pages with drawings of people or animals
  • crayons or colour pencils
  • scissors
  • whole punch/ popsicle sticks


Colour in the drawing and cut it out along the edges. Punch holes where legs would go. Alternatively, you could glue a popsicle stick to the back of the each drawing.


Tip: ensure the wholes you punch are big enough for fingers to fit through. If using sticks, ensure the sticks are long enough to hold.

Faatimah and Ahmed - Puppets

These Faatimah and Ahmed puppets have already had a lego house built for them, they’ve met neighbouring puppets (Mr Square and Mrs Triangle) and they’ve been the motivation behind hours of imaginative play.



  1. Make a puzzle:


Use your colour in page to make a simple puzzle.


You’ll need:

  • colour in pages
  • crayons or colour pencils
  • marker
  • scissors
  • optional- laminator or card


Colour in the page as normal. Mark out curvy strips or shapes. Cut out the markings. Before marking and cutting you could stick some card to the back or laminate the puzzle to give it some longevity.

Make a Puzzle - with a colouring page


The next time you’re stuck for ideas after doing some colouring in, I hope you’ll give these a go.



Inspiration can come from the simplest place

Often we can be inspired by something very simple and somewhat straightforward.

Children’s books are one of those things that seem simple, but can be very inspiring. There are many articles which mention some of the best children’s books quotes – from regular books.

This article published on highlights some inspiring quotes from Islamic Children’s books.

Take a look here –

Books for VERY little Muslims


Assalaamu alaikum 🙂

So i’ve taken to the task of compiling lists! After being repeatedly asked via Facebook for lists of books and recommended ages, I’m going to try to compile lists of some of my favourites.

Please note that the lists are not going to be conclusive – Obviously I don’t have access to ALL the books out there. If you know of something i’ve missed and you think its really great quality, let me know.

I’ll start with the easy one first and give you a list of board books for VERY little Muslims. I’ll try to provide links where to buy if possible. If you need any specific info, i’ll be happy to answer questions via Facebook or email –


Baby Look BookSweet Apple Publishers

baby look book





Get it directly from us, here.

Allah is Al-Khaliq

Amazon link (click on image)

Allah is Ar Rahman

Amazon link (click on image)

Buy direct from us here.

I Can series

Amazon links (click on images)

Smart Ark Board books –

Thank You Allah Counting book

Made by Allah Alphabet book


This post contains affiliate links.


Sneak Peek – Lailah’s Lunchbox

When I first started researching about Islamic children’s books and wanted to read reviews of some of the books I had seen, I came across this page by Reem Faruqi. After exploring her site I realised that aside from being a talented photographer and children’s book enthusiast, she also had recently had snagged her first children’s book deal – Lailah’s Lunchbox! I immediately contacted her and have kept a watch on her Facebook page for impending news about her book.

She has just released the cover and has graciously agreed to answer some questions that we have for her.

I know there are many readers on the look out for new books, and there are also many aspiring authors who will be glad to know that with patience and perseverance, it’s all possible! Read on for more details about the author and the book!



1. What is the book about? What ages does it target and what content can our readers expect to find in it?

When writing Lailah’s Lunchbox, I reflected on my earlier memories of moving to America.

Here’s my summary:When Lailah moves from Abu Dhabi to Peachtree City, Georgia, she realizes her best friends are miles away. She feels even more estranged when she realizes no one else is fasting with her at school. Adding to her dilemma is a note from her mother to her teacher, explaining why Lailah doesn’t have her lunchbox, and Lailah still hasn’t given her teacher the note. Her classmates simply think Lailah has forgotten her lunchbox…again. Will Lailah have the courage to tell her class about this special time for her?

I used to teach 2nd grade, so I wrote this book targeting that age group, 7-8 and up. However, I read the story to my 4 year old and she really liked it too! Lea Lyon did such a beautiful job illustrating the story! I believe it will captivate even the little ones.

2. How did you go about getting published?

By trying and trying again! I did receive lots of rejections in the beginning, took a break, tried again, and it worked! I recommend sitting down with the “Children’s Writer & Illustrator’s Market” and circling publishers that stand out to you. I remember circling and highlighting Tilbury House Publishers, a publishing company that published diverse books, books that promote compassion. They stood out in my mind as the books they produced are beautiful! They matched the stories that I wanted to write or had written. That was one of the publishers that I sent my story to and they said yes to “Lailah’s Lunchbox!” To read my whole story, you can visit my site here:

I also recommend reading a bunch of children’s books! Before I wrote a Ramadan story, I read and reviewed many Ramadan books here ( ) and looked at what stood out to me. Many stories were about children fasting at home with their family waiting longingly for Iftar! I wanted a different take on a Ramadan story, so I set Lailah in a school setting and coping with the challenges there.

3. When will it be released and where will it be available?

The book will be out in June 2015, right before Ramadan! I’m really excited that Tilbury House Publishers worked to get the book done in time for Ramadan. It should be available on Amazon, the Tilbury site, and more!


At Read Little Muslims we are passionate about books for Little Muslims, and supporting Muslim authors. A huge congratulations to Reem Faruqi! We cannot wait to read this book, in sha Allah 🙂

Free Activity Book

faatimah and ahmed free activity book


Faatimah and Ahmed are two loveable characters who enjoy playing, learning and having fun!

Have some fun with them in this FREE activity book. 17 pages of colouring, mazes and more.

Click here for more information and download link 🙂


#littlemuslimsread #AllahistheCreator

Reading challenge week 1

This week saw the end of the first week of our READ Little Muslims reading challenge.

The theme was #AllahistheCreator and readers were asked to submit pictures of books they have been reading to their children that fit in with this theme.

The response was AMAZING Alhamdulillah 🙂 A huge shout-out to those who participated!

See above for a selection of photos that were submitted. Looking forward to this week in sha Allah. The theme is #WhoisMuhammadREADING CHALLENGE-6

Follow us on Facebook or Instagram @readlittlemuslims to see the progress of the challenge and to participate 🙂 or you can email your contributions to

You’re Invited to the first READ Little Muslims READING CHALLENGE – Click for more information!


Interview with Halah Azim

Understand and Love your Creator – Learn the 99 names of Allah

Names of Allah

A few weeks ago, Sister Halah Azim sent me her book to review and share with you all.
It took me a while to get to because I’ve had a few other children’s books in the queue before this one. However, the wait gave me time to absorb the book properly. It also gave me the time to consider what a task compiling the book must have been, and I had a few questions brewing in my mind about her journey to it.

I asked her if she’d be willing to share a few bits of information with us all, and she kindly agreed.

Please read on…


Why you decided to compile such a book – there are other resources out there but this book seems to be quite unique?

The main reason behind anything I make or write is in the hope that I can add some source of inspiration to the lives of Muslims. Especially with the younger Muslims who may face many struggles in finding their identity and their purpose in life. I want them to be able to connect to Islam in a simple, engaging way. This book means a lot to me because I feel the only way to truly live happy lives and fulfil our purpose is to connect with Allah and love Him. And the only way we can truly love anyone is to first understand them. What better way to understand Allah than to study His names and characteristics? I’m hoping this book can help the reader understand Allah more and come to truly love Him. I wanted to make it unique by giving the reader a chance to reflect on how he feels Allah is present in his life. I wanted it to be like a personal journal where he/she can build a relationship with Allah. I also wanted it to have some practical tips that the reader can relate to on a daily basis so it’s not just a theoretical practice but a living practical one that actually transforms the heart and mind. Sometimes we can find difficulty in understanding the names of Allah that may seem on the outlook somewhat unkind. But this is only due to our lack of understanding. I’m hoping through this book that these names can become clearer and that we would not shy away from them but in fact be happy to explain and live by them.

How long did it take to compile and how was your journey to it?
Honestly it took a very long time and actually come to light after much difficulty. At first I wanted to make unique flash cards of the 99 names of Allah where each name had its own unique design to reflect the uniqueness of each one. I wanted it to be an educational tool that would be appealing and contained authentic information. It took me a very long time to make sure each name had its own unique design. After completing the flash cards, I found difficulty in producing them in a cost effective manner. It was then that I thought of making them into a book to be more cost effective for the readers. But then I found an opportunity to make it even more unique and a chance for readers to actually reflect on the names and hopefully implement them in their lives on a daily basis. At the end with twins under 4 and a new baby it took me over a year to complete.

Having put so much effort into this, what you’d like to see happen because of it?
I’m hoping that it can be used as a simple tool to get people thinking about Allah more and reflecting on Him on a daily basis. I’m hoping that the practice of learning Allah’s names will no longer be a repetitive action with no effect on the heart. I’m hoping we can learn Allah’s names in a way that will transform our hearts, minds and will manifest in our daily lives. Allah’s beauty is beyond any words and I’m sure in the midst of our busy lives sometimes we can lose track of that. We can lose track of how much Allah loves us and we can miss the most beautiful relationship we can ever have. I’m hoping that after going through this book and reflecting on Allah’s ultimate beauty we can all find that love that has no parallel.

Our TOP FIVE Islamic apps for Muslim kids

This week, READ Little Muslims was featured as a guest on Modest Munchies, with a post that outlined our Top FIVE Islamic apps for Muslim kids.

Click the image below to read the post 🙂 Let us know what your favourites are!

Top five Islamic apps for Muslim kids


Sourcing, supporting, sharing…

Six months into the journey of READ Little Muslims, and Alhamdulillah we have had loads of support!

With our Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest pages growing steadily, and our numbers of book reviews increasing slowly too, we are on our way to creating a great forum for parents of Little Muslims.

In a nutshell, this is what we’re about – so if you know anyone who may be interested in what we’re doing, please forward this email, share it with them on the various social media outlets, or simply tell them to sign up for our newsletter.




In sha Allah in the next couple of weeks, look our for more book reviews (specifically targeted at ages 8 up) as well as some great new products!

If you haven’t already, be sure check out one of the latest books – Faatimah and Ahmed-We’re Little Muslims.


Book Review – Adam & the Tummy Monsters

Adam & the Tummy Monsters
Author: Zanib Mian
Illustrator: Maria M. Goncalves
Publisher: Sweet Apple Publishers
Hardcover 27 pages


There are many habits that we, as Muslim parents and educators try to inculcate into our Little Muslims, and one of them is the etiquette of eating – washing hands, reciting Bismillah and eating in moderation. Adam and the Tummy Monsters explores these habits and in a fun and interactive way.

The character, Adam, has already become a familiar one in our household (see our review of Adam in Lost and Found). In this story, he starts to feel a bit yucky, and thinks he has the dreaded TUMMY MONSTERS.

We are introduced to Detective Doodle (Adam’s dad’s alter ego), which is a fun twist to the story, and together the family solves the mystery of the tummy monsters. Their investigation leads them to questioning whether Ahmed ate good food, washed his hands and said ‘in the name of Allah’ before eating. This is a great way to reinforce the importance of these habits, again in a fun way that is not overbearing for young children.

I can just see myself telling my Little Muslims – “Remember what happened to Adam! Don’t eat too much! You must remember to wash your hands!”

Again, the illustrations are fun and expressive. The emotions shine through and the Adam himself is so cute and endearing, you can’t help feeling sorry for him. The size of the book is perfect for little hands.

In my opinion, the worth of a children’s book can be measured by how much the children enjoy it. If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you know that i’ve had episodes of reading this book to my children multiple times in one sitting! I generally review books only once i’ve had ample time for myself and my children to read and absorb them. The ‘Adam’ series is a favourite, and highly recommended.

You can read more about Detective Doodle here!

Visit Sweet Apple Publishers for details on where to purchase this book.

Coming soon to READ Little Muslims.

Modest Munchies and Read Little Muslims Giveaway

Our next giveaway is a great one! We have partnered with Modest Munchies to bring you this fantastic prize pack.



To enter, subscribe to both Modest Munchies and Read Little Muslims email list via the form below.
If you’re already subscribed you’ll still need to fill in the form below and answer the competition question. Don’t worry you’ll only be subscribed to each email list once. Entries close on Monday 22 December 2014. Winner will be announced on Tuesday 23 December 2014 via social media and email.

Competition Link

Conditions of entry
-Must be an Australian Resident
-Must complete entry form

Competition PRIZE PACK
How Big is Allah? – Emma Apple (see our review here)
Allah is Ar-Rahman – Saba Ghazi Ameen (see description here)
Zaky DVD – The Earth has a Fever (see a great review of Zaky products here)
Craft Pack (which includes a card making kit, coloured markers and masjid craft boards)

Here’s the link again


Have fun and be creative with your entries!! Look forward to seeing the results!


With salaam..


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