Salaams friends

My kids and I started this blog to share our love of reading with kids & parents around the world.

Once I bought the whole Junie B. Jones Book series from Costco without reading the reviews. Hoping to share this book with my pre-schooler as she was so anxious about starting kindergarten. Even though the story is absorbing and real, I was so disturbed by the constant use of the word stupid, throughly inappropriate for my soon to be kindergartener.  I did not think it was okay for her to call anyone stupid, which in many ways is a more derogatory word than some cuss words.

I learnt the hard way to read reviews about  the books before I let my girls read them.  Personally I do not think that you can censure every book out there. Many contain fabulous stories and lessons. If parents had a heads up that a particular issue is brought up in a book than they can at least address the issue with their children. This starts up dialogue between parent and child which leads to closer knit families.

I was a voracious reader as a childhood and so far have survived by recommending books to my girls that I have read and loved. But my girls are growing up so fast, they will often come back from school or the library with books that I have not read.  Some I try to read before they do but often I don’t have the time. I frequent review sites to read what other moms/reviewers have said about a particular book but so far have not found one that address Muslims specifically. Our standards are different.

I find parents so grateful that their children are reading books instead of watching TV or playing video games that they will let them read anything; case en pointe the Twilight series being read by my 11-year-old cousin.  Many do not realize that books can be as graphic as TV and can expose your children to ideas that they are not ready for or are just not ‘halal’ topics.  We may never let our child watch an R-rated movie but we rarely wonder what is in some of the young adult books that our kids may read.

“There is no standard at all,” says Luann Toth, managing editor of the book review section of the School Library Journal. “It’s pretty arbitrary. Publishers do their own thing. Unlike multimedia, which tries to have a standard, there is no equivalent in the book world.”

My 9-year-old reads at a 13/14 year old’s reading level so if she picks up a “14 and up” book, all I know about it is that it’s reading level,  book ratings don’t give us a clue about its content.

This inspired me to enlist my daughters, ferocious readers, to compile a list of books that they think are great reads for Muslim kids. Included are series titles and stand-alone fiction that cover a variety of genres: fantasies, mysteries, thrillers, novels and historical fiction.

I invite moms and kids to submit reviews of their favorite books. I would like to contributors to include whether this book is appropriate for Muslim kids. If they are inappropriate I would like you to tell us why. I would like to set up a system of symbols that would deem a book’s age-appropriateness, as well as warn kids and parents about bad language, dating issues, magic and other subjects that would concern a Muslim parent enough to start a conversation with their child.

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