No More Monsters by Emilia Finamore Saeed and Fatimah De Vaux Davies (illustrator)
No More Monsters by Emilia Finamore Saeed is not a bedtime story. It involves a young child who is struggling to sleep and who finds his solution in praying a du’a from the sunnah – just like the main character in Zaynab Dawood’s A Prayer At Bedtime and Lisha Azad’s The Magic Words – but it is not a story. Dawood’s and Azad’s protagonists both repeatedly struggle and fail: Abdullah fails to achieve a good night’s sleep and Laila cannot reach a state of drowsiness; both children are helped by others to learn and make a specific du’a in order to become successful.
The protagonist in No More Monsters, by contrast, has no name and is mostly passive. He has learned the words of a bedtime du’a before the narrative begins; within the book he has forgotten to recite Ayat al Kursi and has become afraid of monsters in his closet. What follows from his opening problem is a soothing, beautifully illustrated (by Fatimah De Vaux Davies) explanation of the benefits of reciting Ayat al Kursi, through the voice of his mother. Her reassurances of Allah’s protection take her listeners on a calming, rhyming, meditative journey which culminates in the recitation of Ayat al Kursi and the discovery that the boy’s monster was simply a few items projected onto by fear.
This book is the longest-running bedtime (non-)story in our house mashaAllah. My children often look forward to one familiar read at bedtime for a lengthy phase. As a reader of children’s bedtime books I find this one a delight and pleasure, even after phases spanning nearly two years. I highly recommend it for ages 3+.
Parents who are interested in ideas for facilitating children to achieve calmness, at bedtime and during the day, may be interested in using Calm Kids: Help Children Relax with Mindful Activities by Lorraine E Murray.