Myra here.

It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.

Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts

We’re also inviting everyone to join our Award Winning Books Reading Challenge for 2015 (#AWBRead2015)! It’s that time of the year to set new reading goals for the coming year.


Here is the sign up page and the May-June linky if you already have reviews up. One randomly-selected participant would receive a copy of Lone Wolf, courtesy of Pansing books.


Click here to view my announcement post to learn more details.


These three picturebooks celebrate the power of prayers and finding peace in one’s faith. We need more of these multicultural titles.

IMG_1635Time To Pray

Written by: Maha Addasi Arabic Translation by: Nuha Albitar Illustrated by: Ned Gannon
Published by: Boyds Mills Press, 2010
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

A young girl hears the muezzin’s call from the darkness of the early morning during her first night at Grandma’s house – and she knows that it is time to pray.


The image above is one of the most striking art for me in this book. Told from a young girl’s (Yasmin’s) voice, it captures the quiet rituals involved in praying as shared by Teta (Grandmother) – from picking out a special prayer rug:


to the act of prayer itself:


I also like how Yasmin’s struggle, as she wakes up very early in the morning, is portrayed – rendering authenticity in this young girl’s voice. There is much tenderness and quiet affection in this picture book that shine through – from the special dishes prepared by Teta to the little acts of faith shared between Grandmother and child. This would be a good book to pair with Naomi Shihab Nye’s Sitti’s Secrets.


Written and Illustrated by: Brian Wildsmith
Published by: Oxford University Press, 1998
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This is a beautifully illustrated picture book of a Hebrew baby boy who was placed in a basket of bullrushes by his mother, was discovered by the Pharaoh’s daughter who took him in and named him Moses. He grew up as an Egyptian Prince and eventually led the Hebrew slaves out of Egypt to the Promised Land.


I thought this would be a good picture book to juxtapose between the first and third book here – as the history of Christianity is very much interwoven with Islam.


I studied in a Catholic school from elementary (primary years) to high school (secondary level). I know this story like the back of my hand. It was fascinating for me to relive Moses’ story through Brian Wildsmith’s art which is stunning and filled with intricate detail. I would have appreciated reading a picture book like this instead of our usual religious texts about the life of the prophets when I was young.


The retelling is also straightforward, clear, and easy to follow despite the heavy text. This is a good primer to the life of the biblical figure, Moses.

IMG_1616Going To Mecca

Written by: Na’ima B. Robert Illustrated by: Valentina Cavallini
Published byFrances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2012
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

While most people are aware of the Muslims’ pilgrimage to Mecca, called by the Hajj as “the journey of a lifetime” – this was beautifully captured here through Cavallini’s collage art:


The book is peppered with a few Arabic words that are adequately explained and did not seem to be token text included for its own sake – it was purposefully and artfully interwoven into the lyrical phrases used by the author, its singsong quality bringing its own cadence and imagery.


This book could have become a didactic retelling of what Muslims do as they go on their journey – yet it managed to successfully shift away from this kind of approach. It effectively draws the reader in such that you are part of this joyful celebration of unity in one’s faith.


In a world that is racked by religious fanaticism, terror attacks, and hateful divisiveness – we need more picturebooks like this that show us how we can all be one in our faith despite our differences.

Currently Reading…

I finished three books while at the beach two weeks ago: The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith, The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne Valente, and Love & Misadventures by Lang Leav.

I didn’t much care for Leav’s book of poetry but my daughter enjoyed it tremendously. I will be reviewing Alex Crow and Fairyland very very soon, so do watch out for that.


I started reading Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate while at the beach and I am still struggling with it – I have to finish it this week though for our upcoming book club discussion on Thursday. Wish me luck on this.

I am also hoping to finish reading The Photographer: Into War-torn Afghanistan with Doctors Without Borders by Emmanuel Guibert, Didier Lefèvre, Fréderic Lemercier this week.


Exodus by Brian Wildsmith: Children’s Book CouncilNotable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People; National Jewish Book Awards, Finalist

Time To Pray: Honorable Mention – Arab American Book Awards in 2011

#AWBRead2015 Update: 52-53 (35)


12 comments on “[Monday Reading] Picturebooks on Prayers and Finding Peace in One’s Faith

  1. Hi Myra, You always find the most gorgeous books! Love the beach photos, such a gorgeous location. Beach reading is the BEST!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree with Gigi, you have featured some stunning picture books. I’ve got Alex Crow here to read some time this summer. It will be interesting to read your review of The Boy Who Lost Fairyland. I read the first three in the series, and then let it go. I would like to read This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs The Climate, but I need a book club to meet and talk with or I will never have the motivation to finish it. Happy reading this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved these books, hooray for beach reading too! Especially appreciate learning about Time to Pray, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These three books look wonderful, Myra. I had a student study Islam this past year & she would have loved having these. I think I’ll send the link to her, too. The Photographer. . . also sounds like it would be a fascinating book. Thanks for that, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Envy you the weather, although we are not really that sad that it’s been 60 degrees and rain every day! Much nicer for getting lots of reading done. Interested to see what you think of The Alex Crow. If only it were by Andrew Lane rather than Andrew Smith!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I love the three picture books you shared. They are beautiful–and a powerful way to develop understanding of different religions. Despite their differences, Christianity and Islam do share a history that can be respected.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Lot of interesting books – I am wondering about The Alex Crow – will watch for your review.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ha, love your beach-reading shots! I so love Sitti’s Secrets, so I am eager to check out Time to Pray and Going to Mecca, which are new to me. Thanks, Myra!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ll be interested in what you have to say about The Alex Crow. That was my first Andrew Smith book, and while it won’t be my last, I was more in awe of the writing craft than the actual story.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love the selection of books you chose for today, Myra – we need to expose our children to books like these, to humanize other cultures and educate or kids. Love that photograph of you reading (something pretty heavy duty) on that beautiful beach…well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Pingback: [Monday Reading] Three Multicultural Picturebooks that Celebrate The Moon, Prayers, and Peace | Gathering Books

  12. Pingback: [BHE 183] Singapore Library Warehouse Sale 2015 | Gathering Books

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