Category: Blog (page 3 of 3)

How books can inspire…

It’s been a few months now that The Apple Tree by Mariam Al Kalby has been a bedtime staple in our house. It surprised me that my Little Muslim took to the book so quickly because it is a little longer than some of the books that we read, and there is a lot about the main character, Little Shaima’s, emotions in it.

The Apple Tree

The Apple Tree

 

The book centres around Little Shaima and her father planting an apple tree from a seed. Once grown, and producing apples, Little Shaima struggles with the idea of sharing her apples, until her father tells how she can receive the reward of charity when any person or animal eats from the tree. For some reason I thought that my Little Muslim wouldn’t pay that much attention to the book.

I couldn’t have been more wrong! From the first time I read it to him, he picked up on many of the nuances. He has since asked me what the reward of charity is, he has asked if we too could plant an apple tree, and he has noticed when we see birds on trees and has asked if they’re eating the apples. The fact that he too would like to receive the reward of charity has been on his mind – he even told me just recently that we need to buy lots of baskets, so that when our (hypothetical) apple tree grows apples, we will be ready to ask our neighbours to come pick them!

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Planting an apple tree wasn’t something I considered (especially from one seed) and I thought he had forgotten about it too. As a side note, to show them the wonders of planting we have recently gotten into gardening as a family, and our Little Muslims have eagerly been enjoying watching as flowers and other vegetables have been growing and ripening. I thought that planting an actual apple tree was to remain a hypothetical situation…

This brings us to one week ago, as the two of us were quietly watching a bit of TV and munching on red apples! I spotted a seed and decided to show it to him to see what he would say. Unsuprisingly, he asked if we could plant it and so we decided to give it a go! After extracting all the seeds from both our apples, we went outside, said Bismillah and planted the seeds in our little seed pots. (After some research, however, we realised that it isn’t that simple to grow an apple tree so we put in some carrot seeds as well!) We watered them daily (I really didn’t expect them to grow as we had recently tried and failed with some other seeds!) and hoped for the best.

One week later, lo and behold… this is what we found!

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I don’t know what the plan will be from here or how to proceed. I really hope they (the apples or the carrots) survive and we can give this experiment a go but no matter what happens to the little seedlings, the journey thus far has been amazing for my Little Muslim.

He has been inspired by the story of Little Shaima and her apple tree. Firstly to actually plant the seeds and watch the wonder of creation – there are so many conversations to have with him about how amazing the wonder of Allah is – how a tiny little seed planted in the dry dirt can grow into an enormous apple tree, how out of almost nothing, with the will of Allah, an entire neighbourhood can share in the fruits of one tiny seed and how all seeds, while similar, bear so many different types of fruits, vegetables and flowers.
It is He Who sendeth down rain from the skies: with it We produce vegetation of all kinds: from some We produce green (crops), out of which We produce grain, heaped up (at harvest); out of the date-palm and its sheaths (or spathes) (come) clusters of dates hanging low and near: and (then there are) gardens of grapes, and olives, and pomegranates, each similar (in kind) yet different (in variety): when they begin to bear fruit, feast your eyes with the fruit and the ripeness thereof. Behold! in these things there are signs for people who believe. (Qur’an 6:99)

Also, while Little Shaima struggles with the idea of sharing, through reading her story, my Little Muslim doesn’t. Inspired by Little Shaima, he is eager to share and is thinking ahead about how many birds and animals and people might eat from the tree so that he too, can receive the reward of charity.
“Never does a Muslim a plant a tree or sow a crop and a bird, human being, or beast eats from it without earning the reward of charity.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî (2320) and Sahîh Muslim (1553)]

All this, from one seemingly simple children’s picture book, written with the intent to inspire and provide us with the tools to show our children how relevant the Qur’an and the Hadith of our Prophet SAW is in our daily lives.

It’s time to change the conversation – we need to constantly remind our children of the blessings and majesty of Allah in a way that is not preachy or patronising, but is gentle, tender and full of wonder. This is how great books can inspire!

FB Wrap-up 15-22th October 2014

Assalaamu alaikum and welcome to READ Little Muslims

As I mentioned on Facebook this week, I’ll be doing a periodic FB Wrap-up of the things that have been posted on FB that are worth retaining ( I have had some very good posts just disappear off my newsfeed which is rather annoying) so here goes…

 

Last week saw the conclusion of our second giveaway! This one was open to entrants worldwide. After running a poll, the most popular choice of book for the giveaway was How Big is Allah? by Emma Apple and one lucky reader, all the way from South Africa, should be receiving her copy soon in sha Allah. For those who missed out, you can still order it from here.

Also this week, more information about the Tap Genius and what it does.

Its a lovely device, which can read various books and posters just by tapping on them. It has three modes –

Book Mode – reads the books

Playback mode – allows you to record your own or your child’s voice to help with memorisation

Book mode – allows you to load mp3 files which can be useful when your child is learning particular Ayat or dua’s for memorisation. It also comes pre-loaded with one Miraj Audio book.

Have you heard of Miraj Audio? If not, have a look here http://mirajaudio.com/

You can buy you Tap Genius here

 

READER QUESTION

This week on A READER ASKS…
“I have decided not to send my 6 year old to a Madressah as yet but would like to make sure he learns the basics at home. Can you recommend any iPad apps that would be suitable learning resources?”

I shared that Ali and Sumaya is one of my family’s favourite apps – http://www.aliandsumaya.com/ – I would highly recommend that you have a look at their DVD’s and app. There were other great suggestions such as Arabic with Taha and Mariam – http://arrabee.com/arabic-with-taha-and-maryam/ – Yufid.org – and Zaky and Friends – http://one4kids.net/

 

LINKS TO ARTICLES

We linked to two articles on Productive Muslim this week. Alhamdulillah one that was written by me 🙂 How to Develop a Love of Reading in Children and one written by a new friend and fellow children’s book enthusiast, Zanib Mian. She is the founding director of Sweet Apple Publishers and wrote a piece entitled 10 Key Elements of a Successful Project.

Please have a look if you haven’t already done so.

 

ARABIC RESOURCES

Alhamdulillah we made a new friend over at Busy Little Seekers – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Busy-Little-Seekers/1533992110147466?fref=nf

She sells a variety of different Arabic learning resources on Etsy, in the form of workbooks – they include colouring sheets, matching shapes, maze tracing etc. They are great for early learners! Do have a look if you need to make learning the Arabic alphabet fun your kids. I have bought the worksheets and we have been playing and working on them and I also bought the playdough mats – need to get them printed and laminated ASAP – hopefully by the weekend! My Little Muslims will love them.

 

FOCUS ON PRE LITERARY RESOURCES

We also ran a short focus on resources used by parents for their babies – songs, poems, rhymes and book. Related to this, the following links were shared…

Life lessons in a lullaby” By Faiza Dean, published in Aaila magazine

Early Believers Facebook page – a new book by Elizabeth Lymer called  Religious Rhyme Time to be published in November by Mindworks publishing

A blog post by Sweet Apple Publishers – Reading to your baby – Their Baby Look book looks fantastic.. As do some of their other books. More on them soon.

I also shared one of my favourite lullabies used on my own babies – by Zain Bhika I am a Muslim

There are many beautiful nasheeds to choose from. Share your favourites in the comments below 🙂

 

FUN FACTS FOR KIDS

We also shared the first of our Fun facts for kids which got many ‘likes’ Alhamdulillah. The plan is to periodically post these fun, interesting and somewhat Islamically inclined facts for kids.

 

FA bees1

 

As many of you know by now, the two cute characters on our logo are Faatimah and Ahmed. They come from my first book Faatimah and Ahmed – We’re Little Muslims (due out, December 2014). They are brother and sister, fun-loving, inquisitive and high-spirited. These facts are unrelated to the book but are the kind of thing that would interest them – and most other children of their age worldwide. If you have any fun facts or stories that you would like to see featured, please email me at read@readlittlemuslims.com.

 

That wraps up the last few days of FB activity. Let me know if you find this useful. Please post any comments or suggestions in the space below.

 

Salaam 🙂

 

A Child’s Cup Full

I have finally gotten down to photographing and adding these beautiful products to the store.

I have been exploring each one of the toys and I thought of the lovely women who make them, tirelessly, by hand, and of their families and lives in Palestine. Each piece is beautifully made, stitched and embroidered to create something unique, something of value and something that is practical and useful in teaching children.


They, like us, want the best for their children, to educate them to the best of their ability and to give them opportunities for them to learn and grow. 

My English Calendar

My children and I have been playing with the Matching Shadows game and the English Calendar regularly. They love the soft, textured fabrics and the bright colours. These are great educational tools that differ from the standard, plastic toys with lights and sounds that can drive any parent crazy :). These toys stimulate the senses, encourage thought and questions and open the path to so many conversations.

My Matching Shadows

Supporting a project like this has a deep meaning for me and I know it will have the same for many of you out there. We feel so helpless sometimes, and don’t know what we can do about things out of our control. 


By supporting A Child’s Cup Full we are supporting refugee women in Palestine- they have a stable job and income while in the project. This helps them support their families themselves. Profits made from selling these products go into creating educational programs in their community.

Thanks to Dr Janette Habashi, the founder of this project, I have a limited number of these products to sell.
Please click here to view the products.

Please share widely to spread the word about A Child’s Cup Full.

www.readlittlemuslims.com is LIVE!

Alhamdulillah our website is up and running!
The store is active but at this stage we are only delivering Australia-wide. International deliveries will be added soon. As this is a first for us, please bear with us as we try to navigate our way around managing a website, blog and store. Any comments and feedback will be appreciated.

Alhamdulillah this week saw our first Facebook giveaway and what a great response there was! There has been a great response to this page in general which is fantastic- thank you to all those who have interacted with us so far 🙂

I see from the comments and messages that we are all on the same path, looking to provide our children with great Islamic education from a very young age.
Yes, we do acknowledge that  there are other amazing books out there that are good for the imagination, development and literary skills. Yes, we have easy access to these and use them all the time. But…

The great thing about this journey of discovery into the world of high quality resources specifically for Muslim kids is that there are some amazing books that contain all the elements of the good children’s book and still provide useful snippets of relevant Islamic information that parents can build on. That is what we are after!

Ilyas and Duck is a wonderful example! Duck is so adorable and full of the quirkiest suggestions. Portraying animals in this way is a sure way to keep children entertained and to stoke their imagination!

The Story of the Elephant is amazing in its illustrative detail. The pop-ups are so eye catching that children of all ages love it! A great way to capture the interest of children while telling a very important, historical story.

The Apple Tree is such a gentle, peaceful way of explaining the concept of sharing. Who can help but understand the emotions that little Shaima goes through as she grapples with the idea.

These and many others are beautiful expressions of creativity.

Please sign up to our newsletter and check out our book reviews. More will be added soon!

Remember that if you have any questions about books and toys – recommendations or where to buy – please email us at read@readlittlemuslims.com and we will do our best to assist.

BOOK REVIEW – Zak and His Good Intentions

zak

Author: J. Samia Mair

Publisher: Islamic Foundation

Age: 4-7

Hardcover 36 pages

 

Zak seems to be having a bad day! He has tried to do many good deeds but each time, something goes wrong. He is tired and upset that all his efforts have been wasted.

His mother then tells him that even though he didn’t get to do any of the good deeds he had planned, he will still be rewarded. Through a hadith of our Prophet Muhammad SAW we learn that an intention to do a good deed will still be rewarded by Allah.

 

This is an articulate and well-written book that imparts a sound Islamic lesson in a way that appeals to children. It has all the elements of a good children’s book – great pace, slight misadventures, which keep children amused, a likeable main character and a happy ending.

 

After having this book in our bedtime reading pile for a few weeks now it has fast become one of our favourites. A great way of helping young children to recognise certain actions as being good deeds, and to encourage them to try, even if they sometimes fail.

 

This is definitely a high quality Islamic book that I would recommend it. Great illustrations add to its appeal.

 

Look out for this book in your local Islamic bookstore as it is published by the Islamic Foundation. If you don’t have one nearby, buy here with free shipping –

http://www.bookdepository.com/Zak-His-Good-Intentions-Samia-Mair/9780860375814

 

I bought my copy online, and this is an independent review.

 

 

 

 

Welcome!

Assalaamu Alaikum and welcome to READ Little Muslims.

Through this page I hope to create, in sha Allah, a centralised forum where parents can find the highest quality resources for their Little Muslims.

If you have used or are producing a great quality product for Little Muslims, please let me know as I would love to feature it. Please click here to contact me.

Please bear with me as this site undergoes its construction. In sha Allah I hope it will be up and running soon.

In the meantime, check out our Facebook page.

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