The Last Evenings of Ramadan: Three books for children’s calm and beautiful bedtimes that can help parents towards long prayerful nights with Allah SWT … and five more books as well.
In my home this Ramadan, children’s bedtimes have gone awry. I haven’t minded because I have loved being able to include them. However, now that Ramadan is drawing to a close, I need more time for myself and Allah alone at night, and they need more sleep to be able to enjoy ‘Eid insha’Allah. I need their bedtimes to be decidedly calming, for them to sleep without me or my husband staying in their room, and for them to understand why, insha’Allah.
So, which books have we chosen for our bedtime routine during the last evenings of Ramadan?
Ramadan Rhymes by Elizabeth Lymer and Aisha Davies
Here is a mixture of short and long children’s rhymes about Ramadan activities including sighting the fasting, sighting the moon, giving charity, and praying – including extra prayers for Laylat-ul-Qadr. I’ve found that slowly singing a few rhymes about Ramadan, alongside or followed by a calming ten to twenty minutes of colouring is a fun, interactive activity that makes space for (relatively) peaceful, reflective discussion. (You can choose specific crayon colours to help with this insha’Allah.) The illustrations are very simple so children from as young as one can engage with them, adding precision details at their own level.
Although the book was only released in May, I’ve been in possession of the collection for years and have therefore have already witnessed and experienced numerous benefits from the singing and colouring it facilitates alhamdulillah.
The Magic Words by Lisha Azad
This story shows young Layla unable to cosy down to sleep until her mother tells her a personalised story about bedtime success through using the ‘magic words’ of a special du’a. Layla then uses the du’a successfully herself. The short du’a is repeated a few times so, by the end of ten or so readings insha’Allah, (you and) your children may have learned it.
We’ve previously used this book during winter, when children’s bedtimes happen under dark night skies. I have recently acquired a salt lamp however, which glows with a cosy fireside feel, so I look forward to combining Ramadan, the lamp, and this story with its sunnah du’a over the next several evenings insha’Allah.
No More Monsters by Emilia Finamore Saeed
There is so much beauty in this book, I hardly know where to start, masha’Allah. The illustrations by Fatimah De Vaux Davies are exquisite and the narrative is lyrical, calming, and a truly heart-warming introduction to Ayat al Kursi. The Ayah itself provides the book’s climax and is provided in English translation, transliteration, and Arabic script. SubhanAllah, I have been using the book for years. I have memorised Saeed’s text, and have progressed through the stages of reciting Ayat al Kursi, and am now moving along with memorising it. JazakAllahkhayr, Saeed.
If you only want to choose one children’s book for beautiful, calming children’s bedtimes that are equally beneficial to Muslim parents, this is the one I recommend alhamdulillah.
However, if, like me you are happy to agree a routine with your children but also want to have some extra materials for flexibility, you’ll want some additional books to choose from for your beautiful, end of Ramadan bedtimes. Here are five more Muslim children’s books that my children and I favour for bedtimes:
Time for Bed Zayd by Aisha Mirza
This is a book for after you’ve completed your familiar bedtime routine. The main character, Zayd, requests his routine activities one after the other and his mother playfully allows him to take the lead. It’s an especially good choice for mothers to one child, or to children of spaced age differences, who can devote full attention to their Zayd-like youngster.
Let’s Go Dua Catching by Anaya Nayeer
This book is about Eysah and Mr Cat’s dream-journey to find a lost prayer. It includes a refrain that you can sing to your own calming melody. The conclusion brings the discovery of a thankful, family-centred prayer, which provides a charming invitation to you and your child(ren) to make du’a before sleeping, and upon waking.
Faatimah and Ahmed: We’re Little Muslims by Razeena Gutta
The main character Faatimah narrates the story in a child-like, meandering way, which is very appealing to children. She learns about the Prophet Muhammed SAW from her brother Ahmed and they are both excited and inspired to learn more about him. They fall asleep talking about wanting to emulate his example … in turn, inspiring readers to go to sleep, and with similar aspirations.
Muslim Lullabies by Elizabeth Lymer
Using classical melodies, the lullaby lyrics gently impart themes about night and sleep from the Qur’an and teach/remind children about bedtime practices from the Sunnah. Singing children to sleep can be enormously soothing for parents and children and provide parents with an excellent vocal warm-up for reciting the Qur’an, alhamdulillah.
Ramadan Moon by Na’ima B Robert
Within these pages you’ll find a poetic, heartfelt appreciation for the month of Ramadan that encourages children to notice the changing moon with excitement for the present, as well as to look forward to Eid … and to positively long for the coming of Ramadan again.
“Wherever possible it is important to engage with the Qur’an in Ramadan, and for that I think it is worth considering THE QUR’AN IN PLAIN ENGLISH, a translation of Juz Amma specifically intended for children. Each Surah comes with a handy introduction and the language won’t put off any young, independent readers or leave mini Muslims struggling as their parents read it aloud. If you prefer something a bit more visual why not take a look at: https://readwithmeaning.
“I plan to crack open Ramadan Moon by Na’ima B. Robert. It is a beautiful book to build up the Ramadan spirit.”
Yosef Smyth, Children’s Editor, Kube Publishing
Insha’Allah later this week, I will share a few ‘picks’ of Muslim children’s books by editors from within their own publishing/production houses, and will shortly highlight new releases of Muslim children’s titles.
I sincerely hope these suggestions of children’s books are beneficial to you and your family in maintaining beautiful children’s bedtimes at the close of Ramadan that lead into prayerful nights for you, their parents and carers. Alhamdulillah, I have already experienced ease through establishing an evening ritual of singing Ramadan Rhymes with colouring. When you get your time at night with Allah SWT, please do remember me in your du’as. And, if you are using social media at this time of year, you can tweet me about your successes with Muslim children’s books for beautiful Ramadan bedtimes @elizabethlymer.
Elizabeth Lymer is a rhymer, author, and rainbow-liker. She recently read an article in which Ramadan is compared to a rainbow for its beauty and transience. Elizabeth hopes that her Ramadan Rhymes and Muslim Lullabies books will facilitate lasting benefits to you and your families at times of rainbow, sunshine, and rainfall. She is a member of the Muslimah Writers Alliance. You can subscribe to her emails here.
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