Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story

by Reem Faruqi (Author) Lea Lyon (Illustrator)

Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Lailah is in a new school in a new country, thousands of miles from her old home, and missing her old friends. When Ramadan begins, she is excited that she is finally old enough to participate in the fasting but worried that her classmates won’t understand why she doesn’t join them in the lunchroom.

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.


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School Library Journal

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, IL

Copyright 2015 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Reem Faruqi

Reem Faruqi based I Can Help on a similar experience from her childhood. She is also the author of Lailah's Lunchbox (Tilbury) and the upcoming Amira's Picture Day (Holiday House) and Unsettled (HarperCollins). Lailah's Lunchbox, her debut, was named an ALA Notable Book and received many other honors. Reem lives in Georgia. Visit her website at reemfaruqi.com or follow her on Twitter @ReemFaruqi.

Mikela Prevost is the author and illustrator of Let's Have a Dog Party! (Viking/Penguin). She has an MFA in illustration from California State University, Fullerton, and her art has been recognized by SCBWI and the Society of Illustrators. Her illustrations for I Can Help were inspired by her time as a classroom teacher. Mikela lives in Arizona. Visit her website at mikelaprevost.com or follow her on Instagram @mikelaprevost.

Classification
Fiction
ISBN-13
9780884484318
Lexile Measure
590L
Guided Reading Level
N
Publication date
May 20, 2015
Series
-
Age Range
5 - 8 years
Skipping Stones Honor Book
None None
Daybreak Children's Picture Book Award
None None

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