What Is Ramadan?

With Ramadan right around the corner, we wanted to share some fun and helpful resources for the whole family to learn more about this special holiday!

March 30, 2021

Ramadan is around the corner, and seeing as the global pandemic has made connection a challenge for communities around the world we are thrilled for the arrival of this holiday. To help more families understand and appreciate this beautiful holiday, we are providing some background information below and several picture book recommendations so the whole family can learn about Ramadan!

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth lunar month of the Islamic calendar, falling between April 12th and May 12th in 2021. The holiday involves daily fasting from sunrise to sunset, frequent prayer and special attention to family and community.

Each day of Ramadan begins with a pre-sunrise meal called ‘suhoor’ (soo-HOAR) and ends with a post-sunset meal called ‘iftar’ (IF-tar). These meals are considered an important part of community and family bonding during the holiday.

Ramadan is observed by over 1.6 billion Muslims around the world! To wish someone a happy Ramadan, you can say “Ramadan Mubarak” (“Blessed Ramadan”).

Ramadan-Focused Picture Books

1) It’s Ramadan, Curious George

  • Author: H. A. Rey, Hena Khan
  • Recommended for Ages: 0-3
  • Description: It’s the first day of Ramadan, and George is celebrating with his friend Kareem and his family. George helps Kareem with his first fast and joins in the evening celebration of tasting treats and enjoying a special meal. Then, George helps make gift baskets to donate to the needy, and watches for the crescent moon with the man in the yellow hat. Finally George joins in the Eid festivities to mark the end of his very first Ramadan.

    2) Lailah’s Lunchbox

  • Author: Reem Faruqi
  • Recommended for Ages: 6-8
  • Description: Lailah recently moved from Abu Dhabi to Peachtree City, GA, and while she misses her friends back in the Middle East, she is very excited to be old enough to fast during Ramadan. However, being new is one thing, but being different is another. What if her class doesn’t know what Ramadan is? What if she is the only one fasting? Lailah falters when it is time to give Mrs. Penworth a note asking that she be excused from lunch, and she has to endure the tempting smells of food and kind offers of her classmates to share lunch. After escaping to the foodless library, the school librarian encourages Lailah to write down her feelings and share them with her teacher. After all, who knows what could come of sharing her culture?

    3) My First Ramadan

  • Author: Karen Katz
  • Recommended for Ages: 2-5
  • Description: It’s time for Ramadan to begin. Follow along with one young boy as he observes the Muslim holy month with his family. This year, the narrator is finally old enough to fast, and readers of all ages will be interested as he shares his experiences of this special holiday.

    4) Ramadan Moon

  • Author: Na’ima B. Robert
  • Recommended for Ages: 4-7
  • Description: Muslims all over the world observe Ramadan and the joyful days of Eid-ul-Fitr at the end of the month of fasting as the most special time of year. This lyrical and inspiring picture book captures the wonder and delight of this great annual event. Accompanied by illustrations inspired by Iranian art, the story follows the waxing of the moon from the first new crescent to full moon and waning until Eid is heralded by the first sighting of the second new moon. This book is for all children who celebrate Ramadan and those in the wider communities who want to understand why it is such a special experience for Muslims.

    5) Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr

  • Author: Lisa Bullard
  • Recommended for Ages: 5-8
  • Description: For Muslims, Ramadan is a time for fasting, prayer, and thinking of others. Rashad tries to be good all month. When it’s time for Eid al-Fitr, he feasts and plays! Find out how people celebrate this special time of year.

    6) The White Nights of Ramadan

  • Author: Maha Addasi, Ned Gannon
  • Recommended for Ages: 7-9
  • Description: This picture book for young readers shows how a young girl named Noor, who lives with her family in Kuwait, prepares for the Muslim festival known as Girgian along with her family.

    Mid-Ramadan is a special time for families in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. These middle days are known as “the three whites,” because they include the day of the full moon, the day before, and the day after. It’s a time when children, dressed in traditional clothes, go from house to house collecting treats from their neighbors. When Noor sees the full moon rising, signaling the coming of Girgian, she and her brothers prepare for the fun. Together, they decorate the bags they’ll carry to collect the candies. But along with the fun, Noor remembers the true meaning of Ramadan: spending time with family and sharing with those less fortunate.

    7) The Gift of Ramadan

  • Author: Rabiah York Lumbard
  • Recommended for Ages: 4-8
  • Description: Sophia wants to fast for Ramadan this year. Her grandma tells her that fasting helps make a person sparkly―and Sophia loves sparkles. But when her attempt at fasting fails, Sophia must find another way to participate. This lovely multigenerational family story explores the many ways to take part in the Ramadan holiday.

    8) Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle

  • Author: Rez Jalali
  • Recommended for Ages: 6-8
  • Description: Looking through the tall trees in their backyard in Maine, Shirin and her dad search for a glimpse of the new moon, the sign that the month of Ramadan has begun. Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world pray, fast, and pay special attention to doing good deeds. Shirin is nine and thinks she should be able to fast like her older brother Ali, but her parents feel she is still too young to go without food and water all day. When Shirin catches Ali sneaking food after school, she wonders: Should she tattle or is this an opportunity for a good deed? Shirin feels left out when the others break their fasts to have their own meals after dark and in the early morning, before it is light again. But then her grandmother tells a story that shows her a way she can feel more a part of Ramadan and the traditions and closeness her family enjoys during this special month of the year. Her good deeds result in a surprise for everyone!

    Learn More

    See below for more Ramadan information and picture book options. Ramadan Mubarak!

    Ramadan Information:

    Tips for Healthy Fasting:

    More Books:

    Read More

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