When Samira and her brother begin preparing for the celebration of Eid, an Islamic celebration, they find the true value of Eid comes from the spirit of a cultural understanding through family value.
At last it was time for dinner and mum had prepared their favorite food. “Dad we did it! We fasted just like you”, said Samira. “I knew you could do it”, said dad smiling, “how do you feel?” “Hungry,” they groaned.This beautiful tale illuminates how a young girl and her little brother define the reasoning behind why they fast and how important it is. It also expresses the opportunity for us to see the perspective of the Islamic way of life. To wake up and eat breakfast before a certain time and then not eat until dinner time, sounds tough, but Samira and her brother, Hassan, are brave and know that through this time of fasting, it leads up to what they wait for all year, Eid. This celebration of their Islamic faith is a time to share prayers and presents and although they feel the urge to break the fasting rule, they realize its importance. This book brings an abundance of understanding and knowledge to children about how the Arabic culture celebrates their holiday and just how much of a reward following tradition can be. Not only does this bring out a cultural experience, it also shares the value of children in every culture, showing their excitement of being a child. Similar to how many other children await the coming of Santa on Christmas Eve, Samira and Hassan await the coming of the new moon, which happens the night before Eid. Many people in the Arabic culture practice the Islamic faith, which includes attending Mosque which is their place of worship, and so on Eid Samira and her family go to Mosque with true tradition of culture and faith. The imagery in Samira’s Eid is absolutely brilliant and defines the home that many Arabic families have. From the designs on the carpets to the food on the kitchen table, each illustration gives off a great sense of Arabic culture and how relevant it is to who they are. This children’s book is not only a great way of showing other cultures how spectacular another culture’s traditions can be, and learning that also creates an imagination for children. To be given the opportunity to understand another person’s background through a children’s book is the perfect way to help our future generations feel the importance of getting to know one another on a cultural level. Samira’s Eid can be purchased on Amazon as well as in many Arabic markets. Originally, my interest in writing about the Arabic culture came as a personal gain being of Iraqi descent so I figured this was the perfect culture to try and understand, since the similarities stood out. As I researched more I realized that many of the Children’s books that were originally written in Arabic and later translated were older. Although my hopes were researching a newer Arabic children’s book, I found that reviewing a more historical form of children’s literature would help better the understanding of why publishing has not gone on further. Through reading articles based on literature, I found that Arabic books are now mostly being written in English and then translated to Arabic mainly because English is being taught all over the world now. Keeping a culture alive through its children is undoubtedly the right way to begin because as children grow they will find meaning and true understanding of the culture. I was very pleased with the publishing and illustrations while reading Samira’s Eid and would love to have this book read by many more so that the Arabic culture and Islamic faith can be seen by children all over the world.
Publisher: Manta Publishing, 1999
by Rebecca Kassab