I think it was last week when I stopped off to the library to drop off my library stash and pick up a few things I had on hold. The ladies were with me and we had a little bit of time before we had to get home for homework. I thought it was good to let them decompress, and they also needed to choose new reading materials. Pea has gotten to the age where if she cannot find what she is looking for, she enlists the help of the librarian. I love our librarians. Their faces light up when a child comes up and asks for help finding a specific book. I love how patient they are, and I LOVE how they encourage Pea to ask them for help. Kate is still at the stage where she wants to look up her selection in the computerized catalog and wants me to be at her side through the process.
Directly next to the terminal that Kate chose for her inquiries was the Holiday Section of the juvenile department. Of course, I was curious to see if they had any books on Islamic Holidays so I began browsing and found a whole section devoted to Ramadan.
Now, this was puny in comparison to the many shelves devoted to Jewish and Christian holidays, but they did have a fair number of books. There were also books on Hispanic and African holidays also, but for my purpose I was focused on the Islamic selection.
Most of these books I have read at one time or another, for myself or to the children. I didn’t see any of the books specifically addressing the upcoming Eid ul Adha.
This holiday is a little more challenging to explain, because the ‘action’ that takes place is the slaughtering of an animal. In our family, we have slaughtered a lamb (which is traditionally the animal associated with the slaughter) and a steer. I remember the first few times I attempted to explain this holiday to my family members. I told them it is to teach about charity. I explained how when you perform the slaughter, you keep one-third, you give one-third to your family and you give one-third to the poor. Over time I came to understand that this holiday has a larger significance. This holiday pays tribute to the prophet Abraham and his devotion to God, and God’s mercy on his prophet that he replaced Ishmael with a lamb.
Both Pea and Kate attend Islamic Schools full-time so they are immersed in the stories and the culture and religion every day. There is a certain excitement that builds as the stories are told and the lessons taught and the crafts and art projects start pouring into the house. I feel a disconnect still from my experience and theirs. I know that what they are experiencing is similar to what I grew up experiencing in elementary school with all of the American holidays. Maybe I need to learn more.
So, when I didn’t find books about Eid ul Adha on the shelf at my local library branch, I did a quick search on the catalog and found several titles.
This book, by Robert Walker, gives a cursory overview of the holiday and is meant to explain the general idea to non-Muslim children.
Two other books that were country specific, Festivals of the World; Saudi Arabia and Fiesta!; Syria, spoke not only of the Eid ul Adha but of all of the holidays specific to those countries, and the cultural ways in which the holidays were celebrated.
In the Islamic Chapter, they have pages devoted to The Five Pillars; Ramadan and Eid al Fitr, Living y the Qur’an, Hajj and Eid al Adha. It is a nice overview of all of the world religions, and is meant to teach the idea that we all believe in something even if it is not the same as what you believe. This book, by DK Publishing, is a great way to reinforce the idea of Coexisting.