Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices

Book review by
Lucinda Dyer, Common Sense Media
Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices Book Poster Image
Lots of great life lessons as families celebrate holiday.

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age 8+
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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers will learn that Eid is an Arabic word for a celebration or feast that occurs each year. Families celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting for Ramadan, with gifts and parties with lots and lots of wonderful food. During Eid-ul-Adha, the feast of sacrifice, Muslims who are able undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca. They'll also learn about the enormous diversity of the Muslim religion. That it includes people not just from the Middle East, but from the West Indies, Africa, Southeast Asia, Australia, and cities across America. They'll learn what it's like for kids fasting during the 30 days of Ramadan, when they can have nothing to eat or drink from dawn to sunset.

Positive Messages

The collection is filled with positive messages for readers, among them: Anytime you share something you love, it comes right back to you. The things you give away make you happier than the things you keep. Special days start when you run toward them. Learn to appreciate the things you take for granted.

 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kareem ( which means "generous" in Arabic) lives up to his name when he decides to share his new bike with a boy who needs it for his paper route. Aya likes being the only Muslim and only Iraqi in her school. When Hana, another Muslim girl arrives, Aya's initially jealous but discovers it's even better to be an "only" together. Idrees learns it's not about how fancy or expensive a gift is, but about the love behind it.

Violence & Scariness

A young Syrian refugee remembers (briefly and never in any graphic detail), a terrifying boat trip from Turkey to Greece, a family member who was killed, and the rockets, bombs, and soldiers that turned his town into a graveyard. A character smashes a cupcake into another character's face.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices is an inspiring and enormously engaging anthology edited by S.K. Ali (Saints and Misfits) and Aisha Saeed (Amal Unbound) The collection includes short fiction, poetry, and artwork are all inspired by the Muslim holiday of Eid, which marks the end of fasting for Ramadan, with gifts and parties with lots and lots of wonderful food. Each story begins with an illustration by by Sara Alfageeh, who also contributes a story in the style of a graphic novel. There's an enormous diversity in the boys, girls, and families in the anthology. Families come from Africa, the West Indies, Syria, Malaysia, Australia, and the United States, and they celebrate Eid in many different ways. The young Muslim characters confront challenges familiar to many young readers: feeling as if they don't fit in, the desire to look more grown up, dealing with extended and blended families, the death or illness of someone they love, a parent's divorce. A young Syrian boy remembers (briefly and never in any graphic detail) the terrifying journey that took him to a refugee camp in Greece and the rockets, bombs, and soldiers that destroyed his hometown. Lessons for readers about sharing, acceptance, and kindness are present throughout the book.

User Reviews

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Parent Written byhannah1991 July 18, 2020
This book is "an inspiring and enormously engaging anthology." The collection includes fifteen short stories, poetry and artwork inspired by the holid... Continue reading

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What's the story?

In ONCE UPON AN EID, Muslim families from around the world celebrate the the most joyful festival of the year. Hana and her family travel from Philadelphia to New York City to spend the holiday with her father's family, who are Mandinkas from Guinea and love really spicy food. Eid for Nadia's family is different this year because her mother is ill. But then joy arrives with a bus full of family and friends and a huge box of donuts. Eleven-year-old-Leila begs her mother to let her start wearing a hijab this Eid. Humza's parents won't be at home for Eid as they're making a pilgrimage to Mecca. Seraji captures the moon (with the help of a donkey named Pickles) in the panels of a graphic story. Greek families arrive with food and gifts for Syrian refugees in their town. Makayla discovers that an Eid dress made with love is better than the fanciest dress from a store. It's Maya's first Eid since her parent's divorce, and she's decided to run away. Deyanna's family is driving to celebrate Eid with her grandparents in Sydney, Australia, and she's trapped in a car with her really annoying (to her) younger brothers and sister.

Is it any good?

This vibrant, heartwarming, and joyful collection of stories features diverse characters who offer readers lessons in being generous, appreciative, and accepting. Once Upon an Eid includes an equally diverse group of contributors: Pakistani American Hanna Khan (Amina's Voice), Australian Palestinian Randa Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?), N.H. Senzai (Shooting Kabul), who grew up in San Francisco and Saudi Arabia, Malaysian Hanna Alkaf, and Jordanian American illustrator Sara Alfageeh.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what they learned from Once Upon an Eid about how different Muslim families can be. Was there a family in the book that was a lot like your own family?

  • Does your family have a favorite holiday tradition? Is there a tradition you'd like to start?

  • Have you ever found it hard to share?

Book details

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