In the last few years, the number of high quality Islamic children’s books, toys and products has skyrocketed. Here are a few of my personal favorites for smaller children, and ones that my two boys, ages 7 and 2, seem to love and enjoy. (Note: This post has not been sponsored and all opinions are my own.)
10. Jameela’s Great Idea
Jameela’s Great Idea (Little Mu’min Publications), is a cute book in which a young girl imagines all the crazy ways she can make money for the mosque’s sadaqa [donation] box. Inventive and fun, it is a good book for slightly older readers (KG-2nd grade). The only negative is that the book’s pages and cover seem wispy thin, and may not hold up well over the long run.
9. Saaliha & Ali Series
The Saaliha & Ali Series (Ali-Gator Publications) from Australia on ‘akhlaq building’ and good manners is great for the pre-school age crowd. The short stories follow a little girl, Saaliha, and her baby brother Ali as they enact good manners such as keeping promises and helping others in various situations. The adorable illustrations are what make it above average and a recommended purchase on my list.
8. Talking Muslim Doll
These talking Muslim dolls produced by Desi Doll come in a range of cute characters and say common Islamic phrases, as well as recite short surahs from the Quran. Younger children seem to love them and they may be nice Eid presents for the little ones in your lives if they enjoy dolls and playing house.
7. My Illustrated Quran Storybook
Publisher Goodword Books is one of the oldest in the market of Islamic children’s books, and is known for its exhaustive collection of books on prophets’ stories. Up until now, however, the uninspired illustrations and hard to understand wording of many of their earlier books made them a difficult read for younger kids. Their new and improved text and updated packaging has come a long way, including in the My Illustrated Quran Storybook. My seven-year-old thoroughly enjoyed it and read it cover to cover in just a few days. While many of the deeper lessons and spiritual teachings must be drawn out by a parent or teacher, it is a good way for children to become generally familiar with various prophets’ stories mentioned in the Quran.
6. Hooray for Baba Ali
Muslim comedian Baba Ali, who shot to recognition through his well-spoken rants on Youtube about issues in the Muslim community, has come out with a series of videos for small children, Hooray for Baba Ali. The videos are short with simple and wholesome messages such as being kind to animals and sharing. Combined with Baba Ali’s infectious smile and goofy faces, they are sure to be a hit with many younger viewers.
Other great video recommendations include the We Love Muhammad DVD and Alif is for Asad for younger children, while the always high quality Zaky & Friends series and classic and well-loved Adam’s World work for children of all ages.
5. The “I Can” Series
This series from the Islamic Foundation UK - which includes titles like I Can Pray Anywhere and I Can Say Bismillah Anywhere - is wonderful for smaller children. With simple text and illustrations of people worshipping in various settings in everyday life, they are some of the very few high-quality, glossy board books one can find for younger kids.
4. Arabic Alphabet Puzzles/ 3-D Masjid al-Haram Puzzle
This huge Arabic alphabet floor puzzle has jumbo-sized pieces that are glossy and sturdy and great for little hands to try to put together themselves. This talking Arabic alphabet puzzle is also a recommended buy and very well made, with sounds that accompany putting each letter in its correct place. (While the pronunciation could be improved, it is overall good with no major issues.) For older kids, this amazing 3-D puzzle of Masjid al-Haram is an awesome find, though it requires a good dose of patience and a little grown-up help.
3. Tie: It’s Ramadan, Curious George & Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns
It’s Ramadan, Curious George (Houghton-Mifflin-Harcourt) is a must-have board book for children who are already familiar with this ‘good little monkey,’ and who will be delighted to see him learning about Ramadan and Eid from a Muslim friend. This book may also serve as a great gift for your child’s non-Muslim friends, teachers, and neighbors.
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors (Chronicle Books) is a beautiful book with gorgeous, full-page illustrations that have really raised the bar in Islamic children’s books. A lovely addition to any young child’s Islamic library.
2. My Dad’s Beard by Zanib Mian
My Dad’s Beard (Sweet Apple Publishers) is a unique book that is amusing and sweet. With imaginative and creative illustrations and text not usually seen in Muslim-geared children’s books (my son even asked me – ‘Is this an Islamic book!?’) a young boy talks about his dad’s beard and why he loves it so much. Framed from a child’s perspective, it is whimsical with an underlying beautiful message about the sunnah of keeping the beard. Highly recommended.
1. Rainbow / Color Pop Quran
Coming in a wide range of super-bright and fun colors, including hot pink and a vivid teal blue, these high-quality Qurans are in clear Uthmani script and follow the standard Madina mushaf pagination. They are a wonderful gift for children just beginning to read from the proper mushaf, and to feel excited about having their very own copy of the Quran to read and to treasure.
What great Islamic products have you come across for young children? Please share in the comments below!
Images featured above are from the following sources (in parentheses):
Jameela's Great Idea (Soundvision Canada)
Saaliha & Ali (Kitaabun.com)
Muslim Talking Doll (desidollcompany.com)
My Illustrated Quran (Goodword Books)
Hurray for Baba Ali (Youtube)
I Can Series (kubepublishing.com & SoundVision Canada)
Arabic Floor Puzzle (meccabooks.com)
Talking Arabic Puzzle (desidollcompany.com)
3-D Masjid al-Haram Puzzle (https://educationlifeathome.wordpress.com/2012/09/03/3d-puzzle-of-masjid-al-haram-makkah/)
Its Ramadan Curious George Image (via https://twitter.com/BuzzFeed)
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns Cover (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13156623-golden-domes-and-silver-lanterns)
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns Inside (http://www.booktopia.com.au/golden-domes-and-silver-lanterns-hena-khan/prod9780811879057.html)
My Dad's Beard Source (https://www.facebook.com/Muslimchildrensbooks/photos/a.278289689027549.1073741828.278276665695518/409343309255519/?type=3&theater)
Color Pop Quran Stack (https://www.etsy.com/listing/233490240/embossed-rainbow-quran?ref=shop_home)
By Shazia Ahmad , 24 Aug 2016