Ramadan Read Alouds

Today, I would like to share with you some of my favourite Read-Alouds for Ramadan. Before I jump into the books however, I briefly wanted to answer the question, “What is Ramadan?”

What is Ramadan?

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic lunar calendar, during which Muslims fast. The month typically lasts 29 or 30 days, depending on the cycle of the moon. Each year the month falls at a slightly different time due to the lunar months being shorter than those of the Gregorian calendar. A single fast lasts from approximately one hour before sunrise to the time when the sun has finished setting. It is an Islamic tradition to eat dates when opening the fast. The end of Ramadan marks one of the two Muslim celebrations, Eid-ul-Fitr.

6+1 Read-Alouds for Ramadan

Here is a list of six of my favourite picture books which you can use in your classroom to learn and teach about Ramadan. At the end I have included a short story which is perfect for older students and if you’re looking for some independent reading instead. Keep reading below to find out more!

What I wouldn’t have given to have a teacher who recognized this special month in my class, when I was growing up in Ontario!

1. Parle-moi du Ramadan by Bachar Karroum

Parle-moi du Ramadan tells the story of Laila. Unaware that today is the first day of Ramadan, Laila quietly observes her family waking up in the middle of the night to eat, spending a nice day with family, eating a nice meal and going to the mosque to pray. In the evening, Laila asks her father to explain what made that particular day so special. Laila’s father explains to her that it is Ramadan and shares what it is all about. This book is not only available in French, but also in English, Arabic, German, Portuguese and Italian. The book includes a glossary to help with key vocabulary.

2. Hannah and the Ramadan Gift by Qasim Rashid

How can a little eight year old girl observe Ramadan? Hannah and the Ramadan Gift is a story about a girl who might be too little to fast but wants to partake in the spirit of Ramadan by “saving the world”. Her world is the people around her: her friends, her classmates and her neighbours. This story teaches how small acts of kindness make a difference and how serving humanity is the true spirit of Ramadan. What I love about this book, among many things, is that in the clothing and the food, this book highlights the fact that Muslims come from all over the world and are a diverse people.

3. The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lombard

The Gift of Ramadan is another one of my favourite books for Ramadan. It so vividly reminds me of many sweet childhood memories: the excitement of waking up for suhoor while facing the very real struggle of staying awake; and the excitement of keeping a fast alongside the struggle of watching your younger sibling enjoy your favourite snack. This sweet book shows us how Sophia discovers she can celebrate Ramadan, since fasting from sunup to sundown is much harder than she thought.

4. Hassan and Aneesa Love Ramadan by Yasmeen Rahim

In this picture book, the reader gets to experience Ramadan with Hassan, Aneesa and their family. On the first day of Ramadan, Hassan and Aneesa participate in everything except fasting. Among other things, they read their holy book, give charity and visit family. While Aneesa may be too young to fast, Hassan gets to experience what fasting is like on the second day of Ramadan.

5. It’s Ramadan, Curious George by Hena Khan

Are you and your students curious about Ramadan like Curious George is curious about everything? Then this cute little book is perfect for you! Students get to read as Curious George experiences his first Ramadan with his friend Kareem, helping him get through the first day of fasting, learning about the importance of sharing with others and celebrating Eid. Sold as a board book, this picture book is perfect for younger readers.

6. Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr by Lisa Bullard

Written in four tiny chapters, this lovely little book tells the story of a boy named Rashad. From the sighting of the new moon all the way to the celebration of Eid with his friends and family, Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr gives us a tiny glimpse into the experience of a little Muslim boy observing Ramadan with his family. What I love about this book is that not only is the main character a boy, but the book reflects the diversity of Muslims who come from all over the world. Alongside the story, each page teaches us a little bit about how Muslims celebrate Ramadan and the spirit behind it. This book also has a fun craft activity at the end which you can try with your students.

7. Le premier jeûne de Sadia by Madame. I

I wrote this final text myself. This short story tells the story of Sadia. Until now, Sadia has been too young to fast. This is the first year that her parents are permitting her to complete an entire fast. This story walks us through what her first day of fasting looks like. Not only do we learn about some important vocabulary related to Ramadan, we also learn about the essence of Ramadan. This short story comes with multiple different reading comprehension activities including identifying newly acquired vocabulary (with a focus on pronominal verbs), answering reading comprehension questions, making personal connections, a cut and paste activity and more. Click on the image above to check it out or check it out here.

I’m sure there are many other great books you could read with your students to learn about Ramadan. These are just a few of my favourites.

When Ramadan rolls around, don’t forget to wish your Muslim students Ramadan Moubarak!