Lailah solves her problem with help from the school librarian and her teacher and in doing so learns that she can make new friends who respect her beliefs. This gentle, moving story from first-time author Reem Faruqi comes to life in Lea Lyon’s vibrant illustrations. Lyon uses decorative arabesque borders on intermittent spreads to contrast the ordered patterns of Islamic observances with the unbounded rhythms of American school days.
K-Gr 3—Lailah recently moved from Abu Dhabi to Peachtree City, GA, and while she misses her friends back in the Middle East, she is very excited to be old enough to fast during Ramadan. However, being new is one thing, but being different is another. What if her class doesn't know what Ramadan is? What if she is the only one fasting? Lailah falters when it is time to give Mrs. Penworth a note asking that she be excused from lunch, and she has to endure the tempting smells of food and kind offers of her classmates to share lunch. After escaping to the foodless library, the school librarian encourages Lailah to write down her feelings and share them with her teacher. After all, who knows what could come of sharing her culture? The large, often full-page watercolor illustrations provide gentle details that add depth to the text. A note and glossary round out the story, giving context from the author's life and information about Islamic culture. Fans of Patricia Polacco will enjoy this heartfelt tale. VERDICT A solid addition for libraries in need of modern Ramadan stories.—Brittany Staszak, St. Charles Public Library, ILCopyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.