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The Gift of Ramadan

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Sophia wants to fast for Ramadan this year. She tries to keep busy throughout the day so she won’t think about food. But when the smell of cookies is too much, she breaks her fast early. How can she be part of the festivities now?

32 pages, Hardcover

First published April 1, 2019

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About the author

Rabiah York Lumbard

8 books65 followers
Alexis York Lumbard aka Rabiah York Lumbard is an American Muslim children’s book writer whose debut picture book, The Conference of the Birds with illustrations by renowned artist Demi (Wisdom Tales Press, Sept. 2012), is a contemporary retelling of the classic Islamic work by the 13th century poet Farid ad-Din Attar. Her most recent picture book, The Gift of Ramadan, is a heart-centered approach to the Muslim holiday that goes beyond food to the original impulse of the sacred month (Albert Whitman, April 2019). She has several other PB titles including Everyone Prays: Celebrating Faith Around the World, Pine & the Winter Sparrow, and When the Animals Saved Earth--winner of 2015 Middle East Book Award. No True Believers is her upcoming YA debut title, a conspiracy thriller with Crown (Feb 2020). She currently lives in Doha with her husband and three daughters. An active member of SCBWI and a current MFA student at Spalding University, Alexis regularly visits schools, mosques and libraries to share her passion of books, storytelling and the various places she calls home (Doha, Qatar, Washington DC and Nashville, TN). Favorite pastimes include rescuing Arabian Maus and kayaking in the Persian Arabian Gulf.

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5 stars
148 (37%)
4 stars
172 (43%)
3 stars
68 (17%)
2 stars
1 (<1%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 76 reviews
Profile Image for Abigail.
7,113 reviews185 followers
October 2, 2019
As Ramadan draws near, young Sophia decides that she would like to participate in the fast with her parents and grandmother. Getting up early and having sahoor - the pre-dawn, pre-fast breakfast - she approaches her first day with enthusiasm, only to find it harder than she thought it would be to maintain her fast. When her little brother wanders by with delicious cookies, all bets are off. Has Sophia ruined everything, or is Ramadan about more than just fasting...?

I appreciated author Rabiah York Lumbard's message about helping others in The Gift of Ramadan, which pairs an engaging family story with appealing illustrations depicting a biracial family. Sophia's realization that she can still get that "sparkling" feeling by stepping in to make iftar - the communal dinner that Muslims eat to break their fast during Ramadan, once the sun sets - when her grandmother is too tired, illustrates the "gift" of the title here. Recommended to anyone looking for new, lighthearted picture-books for Ramadan.
Profile Image for Iqra M..
540 reviews2 followers
April 15, 2020
Such a lovely children's book.
Much recommended especially since Ramadhan is just around the corner.
Profile Image for Sara.
503 reviews3 followers
March 30, 2020
I loved this. The story and illustrations were lovely. I really appreciated the balance this book had in making this book as a mirror to those who celebrate Ramadan and a window for those who don't. I got a good introduction to what it means to celebrate Ramadan and I think those who do celebrate will find this to be a good message of the many ways younger readers can demonstrate their faith and identity.
Profile Image for Aya Khalil.
Author 6 books78 followers
November 22, 2019
Very cute Ramadan book that teaches kids a valuable lesson of giving even at a young age! Love that everyone can enjoy this book and learn about Ramadan as well. Beautiful illustrations and I love the family!
Profile Image for Shannon .
1,901 reviews132 followers
April 23, 2021
The Gift of Ramadan

I Picked Up This Book Because: I wanted to learn about Ramadan.

Media Type: Digital
Source: CCP Library
Dates Read: 4/12/21
Stars: 4.5 Stars

The Story:

A short and sweet bedtime tale about Ramadan and the celebration of it in one family. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful. The information is clear, concise and easy to understand.

The Random Thoughts:
Profile Image for YeseniaI.
31 reviews
May 5, 2020
I enjoyed reading this story about Ramadan. Sofia, learns about the difficulty of fasting and the beauty of giving. I can see some of my ESL students making connections to the content. Will definelry add to my library.
Profile Image for V.
700 reviews8 followers
February 7, 2020
The Gift of Ramadan focuses on young Sophia who wants to participate in the daily fasting with her family after her grandmother explains its purpose. We see the first day of Ramadan through Sophia’s eyes: the struggle to stay awake during predawn breakfast and prayers, the temptation of cookies, the sadness when her hunger overcomes her and she eats, the reassurance from her grandmother that she is not a failure, and the joy she discovers in preparing iftar for her family. Sophia also reflects on how her mother reads the Quran and her father gives to charity during the holy month. The Gift of Ramadan is a story about a little girl’s perseverance to participate in something very special with her family – it is a story any reader could identify with.

My son's Favorite part: When she solves the problem.

Note: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for nadiaizzaty.
170 reviews10 followers
May 5, 2020
I read this book for my little munchkin that growing in me day by day healthier before the Ramadhan started. Insyaallah .

It is a light reading to tell or teach our children what is Ramadhan . Why need to be fasting . And , how they can learn to fasting slowly not in a forcing style .
Profile Image for Karissa Knauer.
25 reviews2 followers
April 3, 2022
"The Gift of Ramadan" is about a little girl, Sophia, who loves helping her family decorate the house and eat special foods for Ramadan. She decides she wants to fast for the first time, but not eating from sunup to sundown is harder than she thinks. She gets so hungry that she ends up eating, and her grandma finds her. Her grandma explains to her that there are other ways to celebrate Ramadan like reading the Quran, sharing things with family and friends, and making special foods. Sophia decides that instead of fasting, she will help her grandma prepare dinner for those in her family who were fasting. By the end of the book, Sophia's heart was wonderfully full, as she was happy to take part in numerous Ramadan traditions.

The author Rabiah York Lumbard is part of the Islamic faith and this book is part of the #ownvoices movement. Although, the illustrator Laura K. Horton is not of the Islamic faith. Since this is written through an insider's perspective, it includes the theme of portraying children engaging in Muslim practices and celebrations. Books like this one usually include fictional and informational portrayals of children engaging in Muslim practices and celebrations that teach readers about Islamic practices. I loved the diversity of characters that were included in this book, and how it addresses struggles some Muslim students may face when fasting during Ramadan. 70% of books focused on the theme of Islamic beliefs and practices look exclusively at Ramadan and Eid al Fitr. These books rarely discuss other aspects of Islam, giving students an unbalanced and incomplete view of Islamic practice and other important festivals in Muslims’ lives. Only a few books take children beyond Ramadan to explore other important events/festivals during the Islamic year. Many books with Muslim characters have a purpose of explaining and teaching about Islam, but all children's books with Muslim characters can't be like this. There has to be a balance with books whose purpose is to tell a story about a character, where Islam informs the lives of these characters, but is only a part of their identities. In these books, the reader gets to see a well-developed Muslim protagonist and they learn about aspects of their lives beyond religious activities. I think this book has more of a focus on Islamic beliefs and practices, but it also begins to take a closer look at Sophia's life and the aspects of her life beyond religious activities. Overall I thought this book was very sweet and I would definitely recommend it!
Profile Image for Kirin.
449 reviews27 followers
April 7, 2019
A new 32 page hard back Ramadan book that shows a little girls excitement isn't enough to get her to abstain from food and drink for the whole long day of fasting, but that there are other ways to enjoy the gift of the blessed month.  A great book that shows how Ramadan is a month of growing and learning and sacrificing and coming together too.  Perfect for ages 4 and up to be read in small groups or at bedtime.  The pictures are delightful and show diversity, and while the little girls love of sparkles might appeal more to little girls, I think the message will allow boys to enjoy and benefit from the book as well.

Sophia is helping her family decorate for Ramadan and when they see the crescent moon, they know that fasting will start tomorrow.  Excited to be included Sophia can't wait.  Sahoor, however, is really early and she is really tired.  She eats a little, but by fajr time she can't even keep her eyes open and falls asleep in sajood.

When she wakes up it is almost noon, and even though she is hungry she decides keeping busy will help the time pass.  Reading, cleaning, drawing, nothing is working.  Her little brother runs around waving a cookie, and Sophia can't get away fast enough. 

She caves and starts eating cookies, her grandma finds her and consoles her.  "There's always tomorrow and the day after and the next.  You have a full month to keep trying." The two then discuss other ways to enjoy the month.  Sophia knows her mom reads Quran, but Sophia can't on her own.  Her father helps others and gives charity, but Sophia doesn't have any money.  She is about to give up, but then sees her grandma's hands covered in flour and realizes she can help her make iftar for those that are fasting.

She helps with the salad and the pizzas for iftar, but when some of the pizzas burn, Sophia will have to show what she has learned and understood to make iftar a success and make everything sparkle.

There are a lot of Ramadan books out there, but I like that this one doesn't have the adults saying she can't fast, but just the same grandma is there to encourage her to do what she can and take advantage of other parts of the month.  I also like that she doesn't succeed.  Fasting especially on these long summer days can be hard and acknowledging that, and encouraging kids to persevere I think is a very valuable lesson.  Sophia also comes up with a way to help on her own.  Parents are tired and entertaining ways for the kids to be engaged in Ramadan is great, but can be exhausting.  This shows that kids with the right understanding of the month, inshaAllah can find ways on their own too.

There is an Author's Note at the end explaining Ramadan, and the book would work and appeal to Muslim and non Muslim kids alike.  Sophia reminds me a bit of Pinkalicious and Fancy Nancy and will probably appeal most to kids that also like those characters. The grandma covers her head, the mom does not, but does when praying and reading Quran.  It mentions and shows praying and breaking one's fast with water and dates, yet stays focused on the story and does not get preachy or dry.

Profile Image for Lynn.
3,205 reviews56 followers
April 27, 2020
Sweet Picture Book about a Girl Celebrating Ramadan

A young girl gets ready for Ramadan with her family. She wants to fast like the adults. They are supportive and help her ready herself. But a young girl isn't expected to fast all day yet and when she fails they are compassionate. She can try again tomorrow or the next day or the next. A very nice book about Ramadan that presents Muslims as compassionate and pleasant people who love their family and religion like other Americans.
Profile Image for Rahmadiyanti.
Author 13 books163 followers
May 18, 2021
Ilustrasinya manis banget, menggunakan warna-warna pastel yang lembut. Ceritanya juga manis. Pengenalan puasa Ramadhan pada anak-anak yang disampaikan dengan indah dan natural. Sophia yang ketahuan neneknya makan biskuit (karena digodain mulu sama adiknya). Sang nenek memaklumi karena Sophia masih belajar berpuasa, jadi nggak harus berpuasa penuh dari Subuh hingga Maghrib.

Nenek juga mengajarkan pada Sophia, meski belum berpuasa penuh atau sedang tidak berpuasa, tapi Sophia tetap bisa membantu membuatkan ta'jil untuk orang yang berpuasa.

Suka sama rambut keriting Sophia (lho? :D)
Profile Image for mairead.
474 reviews19 followers
April 25, 2019
Extra star for Sophia's curly hair which A loved: "wild hair like me!" But seriously, loved that our library featured this in advance of Ramadan. Also felt this was well done -- less re the faith behind it and more re the culture and community and meaning, making it more immediately approachable and digestible to all.
Profile Image for Abby Bond.
28 reviews5 followers
April 1, 2022
This book does an amazing job at showing those who do not celebrate Ramadan an insight into what this holiday month is and what it means to their family. This books talks about the importance of charity and helping others during this time and shows the many different ways this family participates in that. Sophia, the main character in this story, run into a few issues on her way to getting that same "sparkly" feeling her family talks about so much. Each time Sophia feels like she has messed up and is not able to participate in this holiday like the rest of her family does, her grandmother is there to comfort her. I loved learning more about the meaning of this spiritual time as an adult, and feel that children would love this story for the same reasons. Children who can relate to this story have the opportunity to see themselves and their families reflected in this story as well, which is both meaningful and impactful.
Profile Image for z salehan.
9 reviews3 followers
April 7, 2023
کتابی با فضایی و شاد و جذاب که در پس داستانش کودک را با ماه رمضان و آداب آن آشنا کرده و در عین حال یک روش تربیت دینی موثر را به والدین می آموزد
Profile Image for Amanda.
93 reviews
April 23, 2019
This is a sweet story of Ramadan that is simple enough for children who are not Muslim to understand and fun enough for everyone to enjoy. I would recommend this to everyone.
Profile Image for Bee (BacchusVines).
2,127 reviews7 followers
November 18, 2019
A book about sparkles, and that there's no one way to celebrate a holiday. The Gift of Ramadan gives sparkles to a holy event that happens for all Muslims. I love the colors of this book and really hope it gives kids celebrating Ramadan a new book to share.
30 reviews
April 30, 2020
"The Gift of Ramadan" by Rabiah York Lumbard, is a story about a little girl's perseverance to participate in something very special with her family – it is a story any reader could identify with. Little Sophia wants to fast for the first time during Ramadan. She learns it’s not easy—but also that fasting is not the only way to partake in Ramadan. Lumbard captures a few simple ways of celebrating and participating in the month of Ramadan through a young child’s eyes. Sophia learns that Ramadan is more than just fasting; it’s also about prayer and contemplation and charity and sharing. I found this picture book a child-friendly and centric look at the particular observance to the holy month of Ramadan.
Profile Image for Jana.
2,591 reviews37 followers
May 6, 2019
This interesting picture book tells the story of a young girl's efforts to participate in her family's observance of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month. The central aspect of this special time is fasting from sunup to sundown. Sophia really wants to join her parents and grandmother in the fast, but quickly realizes that she's too young to go without eating for the entire day. I love that her grandmother helps her to realize that there are other ways for Sophia to observe this holy time. I also think that this picture book would be terrific to share with young readers as a way of helping them understand the traditions of this religon and to see how it is very similar to other religons and family traditions. This kind of understanding can go a long way to helping to build community and a world in which we can appreciate each other.
Profile Image for Christina Dankert.
Author 1 book78 followers
April 15, 2021
A beautiful book to be read to all children in every classroom. Sophia's family begins Ramadan by decorating their house and talking about fasting. Sophia wants to fast for the first time this year. The book's beautiful illustrations show traditional decorations, clothing, prayer rugs, and the Quran. The story allows for the reader to experience the challenge of fasting through Sophia. The grandmother in the book is a kind soul that helps Sophia understand that it is ok to struggle with fasting her first year but that she can do other things to celebrate. Words such as sahoor (breakfast before the sunrise) and iftar (ending the fast, dinner after sundown) are shared and allow children to learn new vocabulary words and better understand Ramadan. The Author's Note is appreciated at the end to give the reader additional information on Ramadan to continue the conversation accurately.
Profile Image for Abby Johnson.
3,373 reviews313 followers
December 26, 2019
It's the month of Ramadan and Sophia is helping decorate the house and get ready. She's not quite ready for fasting yet, but she knows there are other things she can do. Maybe she does fall asleep during early morning prayers and maybe she doesn't have any money to give to charity, but she knows there are other things she can do to make her heart sparkly in the spirit of Ramadan. An author's note at the back of the book explains fasting in more detail.
26 reviews1 follower
March 28, 2022
This book was a great example of how Muslim children can celebrate Ramadan. This book shows how a little girl breaks her fast early, but she still celebrates Ramadan in a different way. This book is a great way to represent this special holiday, but also teach other children about this holiday and the importance of this holiday. This book is a child friendly book to teach children about Ramadan and the traditions that go with it. I think this book represents the holiday really well.
Profile Image for Andrew.
2,032 reviews47 followers
January 17, 2021
Sophia tries so hard to understand and honor the respectful fasting of Ramadan from sun-up to sun-down.
Can she succeed when there's so much good food and cookies around?

A great fun, supportive and introductory book into Ramadan, Islamic Muslim tradition and the significance and meanings of the tradition;
424 reviews
October 16, 2019
Excellent introduction of what it means and how it feels to fast during the longs days of Ramadan.
Fasting does not just mean no eating or drinking from sun up to sundown. Shows the day of a little girl who is trying to fast for the first time and is unable to for the entire day. Her grandmother consoles and shows her the other was to celebrate Ramadan when one is unable to fast.
Profile Image for Elisabeth.
120 reviews
June 13, 2019
I've read a number of children's books about Islam and Ramadan. This is the first one that made me feel like I was talking with a real believer and not an encyclopedia. Sophia's very real conundrum about trying to fast as a child made this relatable. Then her mother and grandmother explaining that Ramadan is more than just fasting took it to the next level. I wish there were more books like this one that present religion as a normal part of a real child's life. There are Notes for Parents at the back to explain more.
Profile Image for Katie Mac.
767 reviews
April 30, 2019
This is a really sweet story about the significance of Ramadan that would be perfect for Muslim and non-Muslim kids alike. (I'd say ages 5 and up would be appropriate, or younger read with an adult.) It's also a great reminder that this period is not only about fasting--there are other ways to observe Ramandan, whether through charity or reading the Quran. There's also an informative Author's Note at the end for any adults or older kids reading this.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 76 reviews

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