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A Muslim Book of Numbers

From the Muslim Book of Concepts series

by Hena Khan ; illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

Pub Date: March 1st, 2022
ISBN: 978-1-4521-8272-8
Publisher: Chronicle Books

A counting book takes readers on a tour of the Islamic faith.

“One is the morning sun” as a multigenerational Muslim family awakes to the first adhaan (call for prayer). “Two are hands for making dua” as they utter morning invocations. In this fashion, the book moves through the numbers one to 10 as the family members, including two children, carry out various religious practices and traditions. As Khan explains in a closing author’s note, the book steers clear of abstract concepts (like five for the five pillars of Islam) and instead presents “concrete and illustratable terms” to help children “focus on things we can count in the world around us.” Thus, readers see five cups of tea being served at a halaqa (religious study group) with family friends, 10 pairs of shoes that the characters have removed from their feet before salah (formal worship), and three bags of donations being prepared for sadaqa (almsgiving). Exquisite, colorful mixed-media illustrations depict a setting that could be Iran (Amini’s ancestral homeland) and showcase the aesthetics of Islamic art, from textile patterns to architectural ornamentation. This concept book complements the creators’ Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns (2012) and Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets (2018), about colors and shapes, respectively. Some readers may disagree with certain spelling choices, such as salah instead of sala or salat. A helpful glossary explains key terms and could be critical for non-Muslim readers. Muslims are portrayed diversely in terms of dress, physical appearance, and race.

A creative, fun introduction to Islam.

(Picture book. 3-7)