Amira’s Picture Day – Reem Faruqi, illustrated by Fahmida Azim. Holiday House, 2021. 9780823440191
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4
Genre: picture book
What did you like about the book? Amira and her family are so excited when they spot a tiny sliver of a moon in the sky – it means that Ramadan has come to an end and tomorrow they will celebrate Eid at their masjid. Amira’s mom decorates her hands with mehndi and Amira and her brother assemble bags of treats to hand out to their friends. Amira’s high spirits are dashed when she sees a reminder on the refrigerator that tomorrow is also School Picture Day. She does not want to miss it; she already has her dress picked out and she is afraid her classmates will forget her if she is missing from the class picture. She understands that missing the Eid celebration is not an option, and she does have a wonderful time. As her family leaves the mosque, she wonders aloud if they could stop by school and see if she can still make it for the picture – and she is welcomed in with open arms. While her mom explains her absence to the teacher, Amira’s classmates rave about her colorful shalwar kameez and admire the mehndi on her hands, and she beams in the class photo.
This is a fun and useful introduction to Eid, with joyful, vibrant depictions of Amira’s family and friends celebrating at the masjid perfectly matching the descriptive language. Amira’s facial expressions practically tell the story without words – her range of emotions is so clearly illustrated. The juxtaposition of the holiday against the everyday goings-on at school will be meaningful for young readers, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, and classroom teachers will value this as a readaloud during the month of Ramadan. An author’s note provides more information, and is accompanied by a glossary.
Anything you did not like about the book? no
To whom would you recommend this book? There is a noticeable dearth of picture books about Ramadan and Eid, so this will be a welcome addition to library and classroom holiday collections (along with Faruqi’s previous story Lailah’s Lunchbox) for grades K-3.
Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Picture books
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? no
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.
Date of review: 7/6/2021