AYAT JAMILAH: Beautiful Signs

Sarah Conover, Editor, Freda Crane, Editor, Valerie Wahl, Illustrator , illus. by Valerie Wahl. Eastern Washington Univ. $19.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-910055-94-9

Identified on its cover as "A Treasury of Islamic Wisdom for Children and Parents," this stimulating anthology responds to the dearth of Islamic literature for families. Conover (Kindness: A Treasury of Buddhist Wisdom and Stories for Children) and Crane, an educator and practicing Muslim, cull stories from the Qu'ran, hadiths (sayings and deeds of Muhammad), history and folklore; settings range from the Arab world to West Africa and China. The production falls a bit short—the illustrations are wanly reproduced and unusual terms are defined only occasionally—but the storytelling is first-rate. Brief entries (rarely more than a few pages) retain the flavor of their sources (e.g., many begin with the phrase "Kan ya ma kan: there was and there was not...") whether they offer Islamic variants on well-known Western wisdom tales or introduce specifically Islamic tenets and practices. A thoroughly accessible collection, it can be shared with younger children as well as the target audience. Both families who hope to understand Islamic culture and families who are immersed in it should welcome this work. Ages 9-12. (June)

Reviewed on: 06/28/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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