I Say Mashallah / I Say As-Salamy ‘Alaykum – Noor H. Dee, illustrated by Iput








I Say Mashallah – Noor H. Dee, illustrated by Iput, translated by Shera Diva Sihbudi, The Islamic Foundation, an imprint of Kube Publishing, 9780860376439, 2020 (available March 10, 2020)

I Say As-Salamy ‘Alaykum – Noor H. Dee, illustrated by Iput, translated by Shera Diva Sihbudi, The Islamic Foundation, an imprint of Kube Publishing, 9780860376484, 2020 (available March 10, 2020)

Format: Board book

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

Genre: Picture book

 What did you like about the book? Both of these books are part of the Good Little Deeds collection (there were two others released last year). These books serve several purposes — young children learn a small lesson in manners, it exposes children to Arabic phrases, and each book contains a few counting activities. In the story I Say Mashallah, two young children named Nabil and Noura are on a camping trip with their father. While they are enjoying the beautiful view from their campsite, their father tells them that this is an appropriate time to say “Mashallah”. This is an Arabic phrase which is translated as “God has willed” and is used to show appreciation or joy for something. Throughout the camping trip, Nabil and Noura use this term while rolling in the grass, watching a beautiful sunset, or gazing at the nighttime sky filled with the moon and stars. The book I Say As-Salamu ‘Alaykum is similar, but in the story, they children use this phrase as a kind greeting to people and animals they see during their day. The translation of this Arabic phrase is “Peace be upon you”. Noura sees Nabil saying this to others in the neighborhood and he explains that this is a kind greeting you say to others to wish for their peace and happiness. Noura then says this greeting to a butterfly, ladybug, snail, and a rabbit.

These books are perfect for the very young child. They are sturdy, colorful and the pages are filled with interesting illustrations of objects familiar to children (birds, butterflies, fish, playground). There are a few games scattered throughout where children are asked to count something on the page, however, this could really be done on several of the pages due to the illustrations.

Anything you did not like about the book. I wished there was some explanation on how to properly say each phrase. When I explored this further, I realized I was not quite saying the phrases the way they should be said (I was able to find this through an Internet search).

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for children ages birth to three. It is a great way to introduce children to a simple phrase in another language while also teaching a valuable lesson in manners. Children might also want to see the other books in this series including I Say Almamdulillah and I Say Bismillah (both released last year). If there are any Queen (the music group) fans out there, look up “Bismillah” in the Bohemian Rhapsody lyrics.

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries, preschools, daycares centers, anyone who works with children between the ages of infant and three years old.

Where would you shelve it? Board books

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian.

Date of review: February 25, 2020

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