Monday, June 6, 2016
In my novel, Out of Nowhere, the main character, Tom Bouchard, is dismayed to learn that Ramadan ... the Muslim holy month of fasting, alms giving, and much more ... falls during the height of his team's soccer season. And four of their star players are Muslim! Predictably (for the evolving Tom) his primary concern is how this will affect their performance on the field.
Writing Out of Nowhere gave me a marvelous "excuse" to seek out and get to know Muslim teens in Maine and ask them about their faith and their various cultures. Much of the novel is based on anecdotes they shared and insights they trusted to confide.
Despite all I learned from them, I continue to be surprised by what I don't know or understand about this holy month. So in the interest of deepening my own knowledge and sharing a wealth of terrific titles for all ages, I'm going to post, throughout the month of Ramadan, about books for both children and adults which not only explore Ramadan but also include stories with Muslim protagonists. It's all part of #RamadanReads and I encourage you to follow that Twitter hashtag and check out the wealth of books people are talking about.
I want to kick off with Moon Watchers: Shirin's Ramadan Miracle, by Reza Jalali, illustrated by Anne Sibley O'Brien. Moon Watchers offers an inside view of daily life in a modern Muslim family during Ramadan. Shirin and her older brother Ali have a history of not getting along, so when she discovers him sneaking food one afternoon during his Ramadan fast, she is tempted to tease him about his weakness. Instead of tattling, Shirin decides to mind her own business. She is determined to prove to her parents that she is ready to participate in this important rite of passage. Ultimately the little sister is surprised by a gift from her brother. Readers from all faiths will appreciate this universal story with its thought- provoking focus on family life.
From now until July 6th (Eid al-Fitr) I'll share a book per day. Happy reading!