Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Song For Me: A Muslim Holiday Song

A Song For Me: A Muslim Holiday Song

Lisa Abdelsalam
Illustrator:  Janet Marie Nielsen 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 8
Abdelsalam Publishers, 2006   ISBN: 978-0975597514

Yoseph is starting a new school and he is worried that he is going to have a difficult time fitting in. He wonders if his teacher will be able to pronounce his name right and whether the other children will laugh at him because his name sounds so different from theirs. Yoseph is so relieved when everything goes well. His teacher asks for help pronouncing his name and the other kids are kind to him.

Yoseph is starting to feel comfortable in his new school when he encounters a new hurdle; his class starts to plan for the coming holidays. In music class Yoseph joins his class mates in singing songs about Kwanza, Christmas, and Hanukkah. Yoseph's mother tells him that a big Muslim holiday, Eid-Al-Adha is taking place at around Christmas time this year so he too will have a holiday to enjoy even if he doesn't have a Christmas tree in his sitting room and lights on the roof of his house. There is still a problem though, for the Eid has no special song of its own. What will Yoseph sing for his school when they have their holiday show?

In a time when children of many backgrounds share classrooms and playgrounds, this sensitive, simple, and to-the-point chapter book will help children understand what it feels like to be the outsider. Through Yoseph's eyes, they will see what it is like to feel as if you don't fit in because your name or religion is different from those of the other children in your class. With the help of his teachers, his parents, and his classmates, Yoseph is able to come to terms with being a Muslim in a mostly non-Muslim world, and he is able to give to others a gift that is a reflection of himself and his cultural background.

This charmingly presented book would be an invaluable tool for teachers, librarians, and parents to help them show their children that belonging to a multicultural community can be challenging at times, but at the same time, it is enriching for everyone.