Like the Moon Loves the Sky

Hena Khan, illus. by Saffa Khan. Chronicle, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-4521-8019-9
Hena Khan (More to the Story) opens this peaceful incantation with a spread of young brown-skinned parents bowed over an infant: “Inshallah you are all/ that is gentle and good.” A page turn later, they push the baby in a stroller: “Inshallah you feel safe,/ like all children should.” Debuting illustrator Saffa Khan creates vibrant ink and digital spreads in sunset tints striated with blues and greens. As the pages turn, the infant becomes a child, learns to ride a bike (“Inshallah you have faith/ that won’t waver or bend”), and learns to take responsibility for actions; the child is pictured on a doorstep with two friends, one hijabi, holding a note that reads “sorry.” Thoughtfully, a spread that accompanies the words “Inshallah you travel/ to thrilling new places” shows children, including one using a wheelchair, playing make believe instead of on a picturesque overseas trip. It’s a view of a childhood focused not just on well-being, but on hope—to “count all your blessings” and “find wonder”—as well. An author’s note defines inshallah (“if God wills it” in Arabic) as a word “used by people of many faiths to reflect the idea of a greater force or power beyond ourselves.” Ages 3–5. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/15/2020
Release date: 03/10/2020
Genre: Children's
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