Aliya’s Secret: A Story of Ramadan

Owlkids. Oct. 2023. 36p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771475648.
Gr 1-2–Aliya, a second grade student, wants to celebrate Ramadan just like her mom and dad. Despite Dad’s gentle objection, Aliya secretly plans to fast anyway. “‘I can fast,’ she tells herself. ‘I know I can!’” But Ramadan also embraces acts of kindness, Aliya’s mother explains, as they cut vegetables and prepare food to share with the needy. Aliya begins to practice acts of kindness, too, just like her mother. She joyfully hosts her two best school friends for Iftar, the evening meal during Ramadan. A glossary defines the Islamic words that are sparingly included in the story to provide context. Pencil-lined, warm pastel illustrations of Aliya with her parents and school friends render them with a tender and intimate closeness. This feeling is accentuated by the small print of the text.
VERDICT A wonderful selection for Ramadan displays or as part of a story time or presentation on world holidays and religions featuring Nancy Elizabeth Wallace’s Can Sophie Change the World? and Thrity Umrigar’s Binny’s Diwali.

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