For those of us who have attended majority non-Muslim schools or live in majority non-Muslim countries, a scenario in which we find ourselves having to explain and clarify certain things about why we do what we do as Muslims is all too familiar. As we become older and more confident, it becomes easier to tackle questions and combat stereotypes, but as young children it can often be quite daunting.
Lailah’s Lunchbox makes one such scenario easier and simpler!
Lailah is a young girl who has moved away from her friends in Abu Dhabi and is, for the first time, fasting in Ramadan. No one else at school is, and she is not even sure they know what fasting or Ramadan is all about! Her mum gives her a note to pass on to her teacher, which asks that she be excused from lunch, but naturally, Lailah’s apprehension at how her teacher will react takes over – she does not give the note… and everyone just assumes that she has forgotten her lunch!
As the story continues, Lailah finds a comforting friend in the school librarian… eventually she finds a way to explain herself to both her teacher and classmates.
I’m sure we can all relate to Lailah’s innocence, apprehension, desire to fit in and hesitation at some stage in our lives. Anyone who has ever been in a situation where they have been or done something different will understand what it feels like to be in her position. Aside from just an explanation about fasting and Ramadan, this is also great book to explore differences and how to approach understanding and tolerance.
In short, this is a lovely book! So many lessons and beautiful illustrations.
One thing I have to emphasise, is that this book is a MUST HAVE for your children’s libraries – and by that I mean school and local libraries. Books like these are important to help others understand Muslims, help Muslim children explain themselves, tackle stereotypes and increase awareness. We need to make this happen. Most school and public libraries will have a budget for different types of books and simply suggesting it to your librarian or filling in a suggestion form on a website will go a long way. Or you could simply purchase a copy and donate it in person. Think of it as Sadaqah Jariya.
Simply Google Lailah’s Lunchbox and you will easily be able to find out where to buy it, depending on where you’re located.
For anything more specific, connect with the author on Facebook – Lailah’s Lunchbox 🙂