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Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
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Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story

4.21  ·  Rating details ·  362 ratings  ·  122 reviews
Now that she is ten, Lailah is delighted that she can fast during the month of Ramadan like her family and her friends in Abu Dhabi, but finding a way to explain to her teacher and classmates in Atlanta is a challenge until she gets some good advice from the librarian, Mrs. Carman.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published May 1st 2015 by Tilbury House Publishers
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4.21  · 
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 ·  362 ratings  ·  122 reviews

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Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a cute children’s book. It is written from the perspective of Lailah, a young girl who has moved from Abu Dhabi with her family to Peachtree, Georgia. This year will be her first time celebrating Ramadan, as she was previously too young to participate in the fast. She is worried that her teacher and classmates won’t understand.
Jun 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This year I turned 10 years old. That meant, as a muslim, I have to do all the things an adult muslim girl should do. That means, fasting in the month of Ramadan.

At first, I was nervous. At school, what if people stared at me and asked questions? I talked with my parents.

We thought of a solution. Everyday in my lunch box, mommy would pack me activities such as: connect the dots or word searches.

Even with that solution, I still felt a little nervous. The book “Lailah’s Lunchbox” made me confident
Jan 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing

The main character is really excited to be grown up enough to fast during Ramadan, but doesn't know how to explain it to non-Muslims, especially her teacher.

Lesley Burnap
May 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thought this was a good introduction for Ramadan for my third graders. (If anyone has any other suggestions, I will take them! Thank you!)
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Lailah is excited to be celebrating Ramadan, but uncertain how to talk to her teachers and classmates about it. A relatable story for both those who celebrate and those who do not. Recommended for grades 2 & up.
A great book for introducing kids (and adults) to Ramadan! The glossary and note from the author really made this book.
(And bonus points for having a friendly, helpful librarian.)
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids, school
This book nicely shows a child's feeling of excitment for a rite of passage through their religion, but also the trepidation they feel when having to explain it to people who do not or might not understand. With the Author’s note which explains Ramadan in more detail, this could be a nice way to explain this part of the Muslim religion. I am not positive without the Author’s note that the importance of Ramadan is truly explained, however the concerns of being and feeling different definitely are ...more
Mrs. Salas
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Lailah provides our readers an inside look at the tradition of Ramadan in the Muslim culture and the challenges that come along with practicing it within the confines of another place. This books show that even though our cultures are different, deep down we all want the same thing: to be understood and accepted for who we are.
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I know I didn't learn about Ramadan until I was older and I love that there are books that help explain other religions and customs to kids. I also enjoyed the author's note in the end, I think that added a nice personal touch to the story.
Rummanah (Books in the Spotlight)
Lailah recently moved from Abu Dhabi to Peachtree City, Georgia, and while she misses her friends back in the Middle East, she is very excited to be old enough to fast during Ramadan. Lailah is in a difficult situation. She is the new kid in school and also different from her classmates. How can she participate in Ramadan when no one in class knows what it is and what if she is the only one fasting? When her mother gives Lailah a note excusing her from lunch, Lailah hides the note when it is tim ...more
Oct 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s-books
The author and illustrator created an uplifting story of acceptance for a Muslim family who recently immigrated to America. Lailah is the daughter who is excited to participate in Ramadan fasting with her family for the first time. She is hesitant at first to share about Ramadan at school, but her excitement returns when she has positive interactions with the school librarian and her teacher. The book won awards through the American Library Association and the National Council for the Social Stu ...more
Apr 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What a perfect book to help children understand their Muslim classmates honouring Ramadan. It is very timely for us as many refugees are making their home in Canada. Add it to your classroom library and/or borrow it from the local library and share it with your children and grandchildren.
Erin Black
Jan 26, 2019 added it
Shelves: diversity
This book could be used as a class read aloud to share with the class about the diversity and culture of those who are different from them. Perhaps a student in the class even celebrates Ramadan and would be able to tell the class more about this special time for his/her own family.
Tibby (she/her)
According to the author’s note this is based on Reem Faruqi’s own experience as a new immigrant to Georgia. She was worried about whether or not her teacher and classmates would grasp the significance of being allowed to fast all Ramadan for the first time. And she was missing her best friends, a relatable experience for any child who has moved schools, cities, states or countries.

One of the things I really loved about the story was that Lailah was very excited to be allowed to fast. As the auth
Taghreed Arman
Oct 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
Lailah’s Lunchbox was a nice book about not being afraid to be yourself. Lailah is a young girl who is going to fast for the first time during the month of Ramadan. Although Lailah is excited she is also afraid of what her teacher and peers will think when she goes to the library instead of going to lunch.” What if Mrs.Penworth didn’t know about Ramadan? No one else would be fasting with her.” When Lailah’s mom sends a note to Mrs. Penworth Lailah doesn’t give it to her out of shame. Towards the ...more
Genre: picture book
Plot: Lailah's family has moved from Abu Dhabi to Georgia, and while Lailah has started to make friends, she isn't sure how to explain to them why she isn't eating lunch. It's the first time Lailah's mother has allowed her to fast for Ramadan, and Lailah is excited for this development. She finds a friend in the school librarian, who allows her to spend her lunch time in the library. And when she gathers the courage to tell her teacher why she isn't eating, she's met with acce
Nov 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Lailah's Lunchbox is a story about a young Muslim girl who is fasting for the first time during Ramadan. She is far away from where she grew up, missing her friends and is unsure if her teacher and classmates will understand what Ramadan is and why she is fasting. This touching realistic fiction story has a subtle message about individuals needing the courage around them to talk about deep, personal situations in their live and that there are people out there that understand. In a reading classr ...more
A culturally specific and thematically universal story about feeling strange in a new place and learning to share who you are. Lailah is excited to fast for Ramadan for the first time but nervous about explaining it to her non-Muslim teacher and classmates. All of her school interactions are positive, so the conflict is an internal one. Reem Faruqi so effectively captures Lailah's feelings and thoughts that when I went to re-read it I realized I had mis-remembered it as being written in first pe ...more
Jodi Henderson
Aug 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book was given to my family from dear friends during Ramadan, so that we might understand more about their observance of this time of fasting and faith. My children enjoyed it and found it easy to relate to and share with their friends. It's a warm story with beautiful illustrations that would make a great addition to any family's bookshelf. It helps children to understand a bit more about their friends who might have different religious beliefs, practices & observances from their own a ...more
Nov 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrensbooks, islam
A Muslim girl fasts for Ramadan for the first time, after moving from the UAE to the USA.

This was cute - I really liked how the story emphasized that this was something Lailah was proud to finally be allowed to do, not an onerous, embarrassing task. She struggles with expressing herself to her teacher and classmates, but ultimately comes up with a solution.

The illustrations were fun - watercolor and pencil, I think. Brightly colored and detailed.
Ursula Shelton
Jun 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a lovely children's book that I shared with the children in my community. It's about a Muslim girl named Lailah who is experiencing fasting for Ramadan for the first time. It showed emotion and how important this time of fasting is for Muslims. The illustrations were perfect. The book was not too long, so the children did not get bored. I really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend this books to family and friends.
Emma Apple
This is a beautiful new book that teaches courage in accepting your differences, tolerance, and respect for each other. I love the diversity in the illustrations and in the text. There are so many nuances to the story and illustrations that make it such an endearing book. There’s the classmates offering to share, there’s the librarian’s welcoming smile and the teachers gentle response to Lailah. A perfect book for Muslim families this Ramadan and a perfect book for any diverse bookshelf.
Lisa Newhouse
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a great way to introduce the concept of Ramadan to elementary students. I read this book with a fourth grade student who understood that it was about being thankful and fasting. This book would be great to include in an upper elementary classroom, especially one in which there are both Muslim students and students who are not Muslim.
May 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: juvenile
Absolutely wonderful! Told in the perspective of a young girl's first endeavor with fasting, and how much this means to her while also remembering her friends faraway, young Lailah hopes that this religious partaking will ease well with classmates at her new school and hopefully feel that "homeliness" finally.
Sep 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: muslim
This book is wonderful for several reasons. 1) it is well written and has excellent illustrations, 2) it teaches children about Ramadan and their Muslim friends, and 3) as demonstrated in other reviews, it provides encouragement and support for young Muslim students as they explain Ramadan fasting to their peers.
I received a copy of this book at an educational conference courtesy of the nonprofit First Book. It's a simple, child friendly book that explores a hugely important topic! I hope to share it with all of my students!
While I didn't love the illustration style, this is a very sweet story -- made so much the moreso by the Author's Note at the end.

Lailah's ten-year-old feelings feel very real. And yay, librarians/libraries ftw :)
CreateEveryday Classroom
fantastic book and how our school systems should embrace this holiday
I appreciated how fasting was described as an exciting times and this was consistently emphasized by different adults (mother, teacher, librarian) throughout the book
Miss Sarah
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ramadan
This was a beautiful book aimed at older picture book readers but might work as a one on one for someone younger. Lailah is fasting for the first time and having hard time explaining it to her non Muslim school mates. Will she get up the courage to try?
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
Sweet children's story about a girl who is fasting for Ramadan for the first time and learning how to navigate the process in her American school where most of the children and teachers don't know anything about Ramadan.
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