Cardboard Home Telescope {Tutorial} plus Sadiq and the Desert Star {Book Review}

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.

Supplies

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:

To check out our other reviews of books, with craft tutorials, visit

Pakistan Straw Topper Flag {Tutorial} Plus Meet Yasmin {Book Review}

Persian Paisley Painting {Tutorial} plus Naji and the Mystery of the Dig {Book Review}

Be sure to stop by A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see hundreds of books lists and tutorials that teach about the Arab world and Muslim culture.

12 Muslim Children Books For Father’s Day {Resource}

Father’s Day is this Sunday so I put together a list of my favorite Muslim children books to encourage great father-child interactions.

Some came from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, while a few are from American Muslims or other parts of the world were Muslims live. A couple even include grandfathers.

They make a great gift for dad, to show him how much he is appreciated. You can also send the link to your school librarian to add to their offerings that showcase Muslims in everyday life.

The titles will take you to the Amazon page to purchase them. Any money made from the affiliate sales of these books helps cover the craft supply costs of this free educational blog.

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A Balloon for Grandad by Nigel Gray (Author), Jane Ray (Illustrator)

Unhappy when he loses his silver and red balloon, Sam is comforted by imagining it on its way to visit his grandfather in Egypt.

Drummer Girl byHiba Masood (Author), Najiyah Maxfield (Editor), Hoda Hadadi (Illustrator)

Year after year, in the blessed month of Ramadan, little Najma has happily arisen to the drum beat of her neighborhood’s musaharati. He walks through the streets of her small Turkish village, waking each family for the pre-dawn meal before the long day of fasting. Najma wants nothing more than to be a musaharati herself one day, but no girl has ever taken on the role before. Her father nurtures her wishes, and encourages her to fulfill her dreams!

Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed (Author), Anoosha Syed (Illustrator)

Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does?

The Butter Man by Elizabeth Letts (Author), Ali Alalou (Author), Julie Klear Essakalli (Illustrator)

While Nora waits impatiently for dinner, her father stirs up a story from his childhood. During a famine Nora’s grandfather must travel over the mountain to find work so he can provide food for his family. While young Ali waits for his father’s return, he learns a lesson of patience, perseverance, and hope.

Clever Ali by Nancy Farmer (Author), Gail De Marcke (Illustrator)

Ali is finally old enough to join his father in tending pigeons for the evil Sultan of Cairo. The boy is given a pet pigeon, but warned NEVER to feed it too much, lest it become spoiled and lazy. But Ali feels sorry for his hungry pet and disobeys. When the overfed bird becomes greedy and ruins a plate of the Sultan’s cherries, Ali is in big trouble! Now he has only three days to replace the Sultan’s 600 cherries from the snowy mountains of Syria. Only then can he save his father from the dreaded Oubliette: a deep pit where a giant demon is waiting!

The Hundredth Name by Shulamith Levey Oppenheim (Author), Michael Hays (Illustrator)

This picture book for young readers about family, friendship and faith is rich in the details of Middle Eastern village life. It tells the warm story of a bond between a father, a son, and the son’s favorite camel, as well as their devotion to the Muslim faith, and the power of prayer in their daily life.

Ibrahim by Francesc d’A Sales (Author), Eulalia Sariola (Illustrator)

It’s a big day for Ibrahim when he starts work at his father’s stall in the market place of Marrekesh. The market is alive with bright colors and the cries of vendors. Ibrahim is excited not only to be a part of all the bustling activty, but also to be entering the world of grown-ups.

The Little Green Drum by Taghreed Najjar (Author). Hassan Manasrah (Illustrator)

Samia’s father has a very important job. He is the Dawn Waker-Upper for the whole village, during the holy month of Ramadan. But one year, just before Ramadan, her father is not very well. Can Samia take his place as the Waker Upper?

My Dad’s Beard by Zanib Mian (Author), Laura Ewing (Illustrator)

An adorable little character shows us how much he admires his dad by sharing amusing observations and heartfelt sentiments of his beard, and why he and the others love it! A warm and loving family. A perfect picture book to read aloud, or for small children to read to themselves time and time again.

My Father’s Shop by Satomi Ichikawa

Mustafa loves a particular rug in his father’s shop. It has a hole in it, so he can put it over his head and still see out. His father wants to teach his son some foreign languages, but Mustafa runs off to the bustling Moroccan market instead (with his favourite rug on his head). There he finds a different way of learning other languages – and of getting tourists to his father’s shop.  

My Grandfather’s Masbaha by Susan Daniel Fayad (Author), Avery Liell-Kok (Illustrator)

One summer day at his grandparents’ home in Lebanon, Adam gets upset after his friends leave after a play date. His grandfather (Jidoo Yousef) helps him realize how much he has. By using the masbaha (a string of beads) he learns how to count his blessings.

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter by Mark Gonzales, Mehrdokht Amini (Illustrations)

Written as a letter from a father to his daughter, Yo Soy Muslim is a celebration of social harmony and multicultural identities. The vivid and elegant verse, accompanied by magical and vibrant illustrations, highlights the diversity of the Muslim community as well as Indigenous identity. A literary journey of discovery and wonder, Yo Soy Muslim is sure to inspire adults and children alike.

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Stop by A Crafty Arab’s educational page to see more book lists, like these

99 Muslim Children Books

99 Ramadan Children Books

Be sure to visit A Crafty Arab on Pinterest to see other book lists, reviews and tutorials that teach about Muslim culture or the Arab world.

Refugee Popup Bookstore {Outing}

This weekend, I am opening a refugee pop-up bookstore, SCM Souk, to help a local Seattle nonprofit humanitarian organization acquire more income to run its programs.

Souk /سوق is the Arabic word for store, originally started as an idea to provide the Salaam Cultural Museum with a way to support refugees.

Salaam Cultural Museum (SCM) is a charitable non-profit organization originally formed in February 1996 to gather and publish information on the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and to promote understanding of the people, cultures, languages, religions, and lands of this region. For the last several years they have been collecting and distributing humanitarian aid and coordinating SCM Medical Missions to the region.

SCM Medical Missions not only sends doctors, nurses and humanitarian relief to the Zaatari Refugee Camp, the second largest in the world, but it also sends medical equipment, clothing, menstrual pads, shoes, quilts, school supplies and sports equipment. All these are proved free of charge to refugees.

I got involved with SCM Medical Missions when I found out that 100% of all the money donated goes to these programs. They have zero overhead, zero staff salaries, zero administration fees. Everything is volunteer and their accounting books are open for anyone to look over. They have grant writers to help find funds to cover operating costs and donors that cover the fees for the containers SCM fills with donated items.

A few months ago, one of the SCM board members offered space in Bellevue, Washington, across the street from Bellevue Park, to sell a few items, such as books and jewelry made by the refugee women in the SCM run educational and sewing training centers.

I offered to help get the souk started, since I had already helped set up a similar retail space for them in Seattle. For the past month, my family and I have been painting, building, and cleaning a 200 foot room to turn it into a second souk for SCM.

My daughters have given up their past weekends to helping paint. All the paint was donated.

Meanwhile, my husband built a custom cover for the pipes that were exposed. All the wood, nails and drywall were also donated.

We will be selling the beautiful handmade jewelry, along with traditional embroidered dresses and children’s literature that focus on refugees, diversity and marginalized people. I have been contacting publishers & authors to fill the shelves with diverse books. I decorated the souk’s front doors with the types of books I was searching for, while the mess was going on inside..

We will have the space for five weeks, but plan to take full advantage of it by celebrating Women’s History Month with activities each Saturday.

We will begin with a story time reading of a book, then followed by a free craft to take home.

Please help SCM Souk grow by liking the Facebook page. It will help you keep track of where we will be next month.