Once Upon an Eid

Once Upon an Eid
Reading Level: 4th – 5th Grade

A joyous short story collection by and about Muslims, edited by New York Times bestselling author Aisha Saeed and Morris finalist S. K. Ali

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid!

Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it's waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it's the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it's the gift giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

The full list of Once Upon an Eid contributors include: G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen, Ms. Marvel), Hena Khan (Amina's Voice, Under My Hijab), N. H. Senzai (Shooting Kabul, Escape from Aleppo), Hanna Alkaf (The Weight of Our Sky), Rukhsana Khan (Big Red Lollipop), Randa Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?), Ashley Franklin (Not Quite Snow White), Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Mommy's Khimar), Candice Montgomery (Home and Away, By Any Means Necessary), Huda Al-Marashi (First Comes Marriage), Ayesha Mattu, Asmaa Hussein, and Sara Alfageeh.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review

Fifteen accomplished Muslim writers from various regions and backgrounds share Eid-themed short stories in this middle-grade collection... This thoughtful and uplifting volume will keep readers turning pages year-round; here’s to many more. (Anthology. 8-12)

Copyright 2020 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review

This effervescent anthology, edited by Ali (Love from A to Z) and Saeed (Amal Unbound), binds together 15 short stories in a variety of formats that explore the festival of Eid. While the annual Muslim celebration is a major component, the authors also interweave deeper explorations of the Islamic faith into their tales, which combine insights on Muslim culture with a message on the importance of such traits as generosity and resilience. Asmaa Hussein's "Kareem Means 'Generous, ' " for example, features Kareem's discovery of the pleasure he gains from sharing his good fortune. Candice Montgomery contributes a moving narrative about 11-year-old Leila's first experience wearing a hijab, conveying both the girl's excitement and her mother's anxiety over potential backlash. Leila's closeness with family and positive interactions with classmates further exemplify fulfilling interpersonal relationships that appear throughout the book. No two stories are alike: the inclusion of a narrative in poem ("Taste," by Hanna Alkaf) and a short graphic novel (G. Willow Wilson's "Seraj Captures the Moon") ensures various reading formats. Moreover, a range of diverse, multidimensional characters--among them Shia Muslim, converted Muslim, Algerian, Caribbean, and West African representation--results in a stimulating, celebratory read. Ages 8-12. Agents: John Cusick, Folio Literary Management (for Ali), and Taylor Martindale, Full Circle Literary (for Saeed). (May)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 3-6—This heartfelt collection of Eid (both Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Adha) short stories, edited by Ali (Saints & Misfits) and Saeed (Amal Unbound), compiles the work of 15 #OwnVoices creators and provides beautiful, essential narratives about Muslim culture. Regardless of readers' familiarity with Eid or the Muslim faith, they will feel embraced in each and every story. The tales are artfully arranged, beginning with happy and light fare before wading into heavier, more complex topics, and ending on laugh-out-loud perfection. A graphic novel-esque intermission provides a delightful surprise. The narratives here are wonderfully diverse in setting, familial structure, race, culture, and experience. The collection not only celebrates and shares Eid, but skillfully teaches readers, addressing issues like racism and prejudice with a light but effective touch. With many varied contributors, the stories read well as a whole or individually, and many have significant appeal well beyond the target audience. VERDICT A joyous title that radiates love. This much-needed collection is recommended as a first purchase for all libraries.—Taylor Worley, Springfield P.L., OR

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Publication date
May 20, 2020
Age Range
8 - 12 years

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