Zahra's Blessing, A Ramadan Story
Written by Shirin Shamsi
Illustrated by Manal Mirza
Zahra hugs her cherished teddy bear and prays that Ramadan will bring her a longed-for sister. When her bear subsequently goes missing, Zahra finds herself grappling with intense feelings of loss. Over the next few weeks, as she volunteers with her mother at a local shelter for asylum seekers, Zahra befriends a displaced child, resulting in a newfound sense of gratitude and an unexpected Ramadan blessing.
Find out more here
SOCIAL-EMOTIONAL LEARNING: Young readers will relate to Zahra’s feelings of loss when she can’t find her teddy bear, which serves as a bridge for empathizing with the relatively extreme loss experienced by the refugee child in the story.
RAMADAN & ISLAM: Written by a Muslim author and illustrated by a Muslim artist, the story immerses readers in the rituals of Ramadan, while endnotes provide additional factual information about Ramadan, Islam and variations in Muslim traditions.
ASYLUM SEEKERS & DISPLACEMENT: Provides a sensitive portrayal of displacement for children who are both familiar and unfamiliar with the concept. Endnotes explain more about asylum seekers, refugees, shelters and long-term foster care.
- Product Dimensions: 8.50 x 10.75 inches
- Page Count: 32 pages
- Age Range: Ages 4-9 years
- Format: Paperback
Awards and Accolades
Featured in The Chicago Tribune, March 2022
“A young Muslim girl, cued as Pakistani American, prays for a blessing and ends up being one . . . A sweet story about the importance of sharing and caring that’s embedded in Islamic traditions” – Kirkus Reviews
“Colorful illustrations are perfectly framed to show the goings-on of the family during the holy month of Ramadan as they open their fast during their Iftar meal, pray, and read the Quran” – School Library Journal
Written by - Shirin Shamsi
When Shirin Shamsi became a mother, she began writing stories her own children would see themselves in. She currently lives in the city of Darien, Illinois, USA, with her husband and cat. When she's not busy writing for children, Shirin spends her days sharing her love of Barefoot Books as an independent bookseller in her community.
Illustrated by - Manal Mirza
Manal Mirza is a designer and illustrator based in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Manal creates her paintings digitally and draws inspiration from her experiences. Being a young Muslim American Pakistani woman, her illustrations highlight the different identities that she juggles day to day. Manal brings her own positive outlook to her work, aiming to empower women around the world.