My daughter & I were inspired to make this mashAllah reminder jar, that looks a little like a minaret, by a new book I just received I say Mashallah, written by Noor H. Dee and illustrated by Iput from Kube Publishing.
This adorable little board book is perfect for little toddler hands to learn how to turn pages, while at the same time explaining what mashallah means.
The story follows Nabil, Noura and their dad on a camping adventure. After working together as a team to put up the tent, they sit down to enjoy the landscape.
Noura shares how beautiful she thinks the view is, and her father teachers her how to say ‘mashallah‘ to show appreciation for what Allah has willed.
There is a word page in the back, along with a couple of quizzes.
After I shared the book with my daughter, we were inspired to spend some time writing what we were appreciative of. This jar will keep all those things in one place and at the end of Ramadan, we will look at what we wrote down.
Half dome foam shape
Recycled plastic jar
My daughter started to make our reminder jar by first adding a little Mod Podge to the top of the lid, then adding the foam shape. She did not add that much, as this is just a temporary hold while she added stripes of tissue paper across the top. To hold the tissue paper in place, she added Mod Podge to the lid edge. It is okay to leave an overhand, we will cut it off later. She continued to add more paper until the entire top was covered.
While the lid was drying, she started adding the letters down the side of the jar. Once the letters are on, it will be easier to know where to start and stop the tissue paper.
Once the letters were complete, my daughter added stripes of tissue paper to the jar.
To make the minerate look like it was made of bricks, my daughter cut smaller, shorter stripes. She then added them perpendicular to the other tissues, in random places.
Here is what it should look like once light shines though.
Once the lid was fully dry, my daughter used the scissors to cut off the excess paper from the edge.
Next, she added the ribbon to the jar tissue edges, to cover up the torn paper. She then also cut a smaller piece to attach to the top. She was sure to be very generous with the Mod Podge, making sure to get the ribbon soaked so the fibers attach.
The final step is to attach the pieces of paper to the jar by securing the command strip to the side, then punched a holes in the papers and adding them.
Now our mashallah reminder jar is ready for use. I am looking forward to seeing what is written at the end of the month!
If you would like to check out other ways to show gratitude, please visit
This list of books with disabled Muslim children was created to celebrate the Palestinian American Maysoon Zayid’s upcoming Seattle comedy show.
Maysoon Zayid is a Muslim from New Jersey with cerebral palsy. She is an actress, comedian and activist. Her TED Talk, “I Got 99 Problems, Palsy Is Just One” (2014) is one of the most-watched TED Talks ever.
Zayid tries to spend three months a year in the Palestinian territories, running an arts program, Maysoon’s Kids, for disabled and orphaned children in refugee camps. She helps the children use art to deal with trauma and bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled children. Eighty percent of the funding for the camps comes from her comedy work.
When I met Maysoon in 2006, I was producing the Seattle Arab Festival and had brought her, along with Ahmed Ahmed, Aron Kader, and Dean Obeidallah, for a comedy show. It was the first time that I had heard of an organization working specifically with disabled kids in the Arab world and immediately sent her art supplies to use. She has seen been to Seattle other times & it is always a great night out to see her perform.
Because of Maysoon, I’ve become much more aware of stocking my book shelves with books for my children that feature disabled Muslim protagonist or were written by Muslim authors who write about disability. I wanted to share a few below.
Award-winning author and designer Shaila Abdullah teams up with her 10-year-old daughter Aanyah to bring you this heartwarming tale of a little girl who forms a close bond with a child with cerebral palsy. The girl finds that through her art, she can reach her special friend Suhana.
Inspired by all the differences that I have learned, I wrote this book. I believe we are different in a way or another, we are all different in someone’s eyes. So, we have to work on our inclusivity, coexistence, and acceptance for others. We can’t add up to someone personal struggles, we can’t make people battle because of the way they look, their skin color, their curly hair, their mental abilities, where they came from or the faith they believe. Why? because this is humanity and life and how it works.
From bestselling author and educator Umm Juwayriyah — a
story told by a big sister who learns coping skills to befriend and lead her
autistic younger sister. “You see, my sister Hind has Autism. And I know
that sounds like a really big word, but it’s not. Autism just means that Allah
made her to learn and act and think differently than other kids her age.”
In the story Hind’s Hands, big sister Juwayriyah learns just how special her
younger sister is, despite the challenging behaviors that she often has to deal
with. Author Umm Juwayriyah collaborates with her oldest daughter, Juwayriyah
Ayed on this book to help spread awareness about Autism.
Basant is here, with feasts and parties to celebrate the
arrival of spring. But what Malik is looking forward to most is doing battle
from his rooftop with Falcon, the special kite he has built for speed. Today is
Malik s chance to be the best kite fighter, the king of Basant. In two fierce
battles, Malik takes down the kites flown by the bully next door. Then Malik
moves on, guiding Falcon into leaps, swirls, and dives, slashing strings and
plucking kites from the sky. By the end of the day, Malik has a big pile of
captured kites. He is the king! But then the bully reappears, trying to take a
kite from a girl in the alley below. With a sudden act of kingly generosity,
Malik finds the perfect way to help the girl. This lively, contemporary story
introduces readers to a centuries-old festival and the traditional sport of
kite fighting, and to a spirited, determined young boy who masters the sport
while finding his own way to face and overcome life s challenges.
Nujeen’s charming and authentic voice shines from page one
of this story about a sixteen-year-old girl with cerebral palsy forced to flee
Aleppo during the civil war. There are many books that chronicle the experience
of Syrian refugees, but Nujeen faces special challenges as her sister pushes
her wheelchair from Turkey to Germany, crossing the Mediterranean and finding
both help and horror along the way. Nujeen is smart, funny, and relatable, and
readers will enjoy her fresh perspective.
This unique book has been chosen to be on the outstanding
list of books for young people with disabilities by IBBY . It is the product of
an artistic and expression workshop for 12 students with Learning disabilities
from Step together Association. Each student narrated and illustrated his story
with the help of professionals. Topics vary from academic struggles, to social
issues and even dreams. It is also Dyslexia Friendly in order to make it
accessible to slow readers.
This book explores portrayals and predicaments of the disabled in Arab/Muslim post colonial North African and Middle Eastern societies in genres ranging from classical Arabic scripture to secular popular culture including Francophone Moroccan and Algerian fiction, Egyptian Middle Eastern film, as well as Tunisian song and television. In line with theorists Aijaz Ahmad and Ato Quayson’s objection to reading Third World literature as “national allegory,” The author argues that rather than being metaphors or allegories, disabled characters represent persons with disabilities in their culture and act as a mirror upon their changing societies. Contemporary Maghrebians and Muslims with disabilities find themselves at an intersection of conflicting and competing cultures, their native Islamic culture and Westernizing lifestyles. In the rush to import everything Western, despite humanitarian Islamic teachings regarding the disabled, are often abandoned. In situations of fundamentalist menace, the disabled, who tend to be the most vulnerable and abused fraction of Arab/Muslim society, suffer the worst, especially women.
This recycled cardboard home telescope began it’s life as two paper towel rolls. We added some reading glasses and paint to make a homemade telescope just like the one Sadiq, the protagonist from Sadiq and the Desert Star, used to help him look for stars.
Sadiq and the Desert Star is a new book by Somali American Siman Nuurali and illustrated by Anjan Sarkar. It was published by Capstone and they recently sent me an advanced copy to enjoy.
My daughter read the story, and had lots of questions about Berbera, Somalia, where Sadiq was from. We learned it is a coastal city and was the most important place of trade in the entire Horn of Africa. Sadiq’s grandfather used the desert star to guide his caravan trips through the Sahara Desert.
After we spent some time learning about Berbera, my daughter gathered supplies to start her telescope right away. She wanted to see if she could really see Mars, just like Sadiq and his friends at the observatory.
The first step my daughter took in making her own telescope is to cut one of the paper rolls lengthwise.
She took the cut paper roll and placed it inside the other tube.
Next, I helped my daughter pop out the glasses from their frame and she taped one to the end of the cut paper roll. She made sure to place the curved side facing the tube.
Once that end was secure, she did the same to the other end, but this time she made sure the curved side of the glass faced away from the cardboard.
Next we painted the tube with cardboard paint. You can use any paint you want, but we thought it might be fun to use chalkboard paint so that we could use chalk on the tube to write down what we saw.
We had a bit of a problem trying to paint over the tape that attach the glasses. I think when we make more telescopes for our upcoming space club, we will have everyone paint their tubes before taping on the glasses.
Now our telescope was ready. We wanted to take a photo in the daytime to show you what it looks like, but please never, ever use your telescope to look at the sun. This is dangerous and could really hurt your eyesight.
While she did love this book overall, she was confused as to why Sadiq’s mother and sister were wearing the hijab in the kitchen. Her own grandmother and aunt, who wear the hijab everyday, always take it off when they come home.
My daughter did love the facts about Somalia that was included, as well as the new Somali terms she got to practice. For example, in Somali, a grandfather is awoowe, but in Libyan we use jidu. I also loved the glossary in the back for the astronomy terms, plus the sections that encouraged kids to talk about and write down their thoughts about the book.
There are more Sadizq books coming out and my daughter can’t wait to read them: