We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2018 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.
I am a fan of the collaboration between Shirin Adl and Na’ima B. Robert, having read and reviewed their Ramadan Moon a few years back. I am glad to see that they have another title that fits our theme perfectly: because first comes love, then comes… marriage!
Written by Na’ima B. Robert
Illustrated by Shirin Adl
Published by Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (2016)
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
I’ve had the privilege of attending a Muslim colleague’s wedding a few years back. I was pleased to see some resonances: from the henna body paints to the community feast to the singing and dancing.
In this lovely nonfiction title, Robert and Adl depicted the many variations of how Muslims in different countries from around the world celebrate their marriage: from Pakistan to Morocco to Somalia to Britain.
The joy and the festivity can be sensed oozing out from the page, that it begs to be touched – such is Adl’s collage artwork that it seems almost alive. Among the countries shared, it was the Muslim wedding in Britain that seemed the most multicultural with “a wonderful mix of different backgrounds, different faiths, all there to witness and celebrate the start of a new love story.”
I am also deeply fascinated by Adl’s artwork – see the image below – the tray of food held by the young boy made my mouth water. The details in the bride’s gown also made me want to reach out and touch the curlicues and the soft white wreath in her head-dress. I find books like these more compelling than the usual nonfiction titles with actual photographs depicting weddings or festive occasions across different cultures. Adl’s art trumps all those.
In the Author’s Note, Na’ima B Robert explained that she wanted to show how there could be differences even within cultures, a fact that is extremely important to take note of. Too often, readers tend to attribute some kind of fictive unity to groups of people, simply because they share the same faith, or the same race or ethnicity. This book is a testament that such variations even from within the same religion exist. Definitely a book that you should include in your multicultural bookshelf.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: 9 of 40 (United Kingdom – Na’ima B Robert is based in the UK – and one of the countries depicted here is Britain.)