Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs, A Treasury of Islamic Wisdom
for Children and Parents By Sarah Conover and Freda Crane, illustr. Valarie Wahl. Middle grades and up. $19.95. Eastern Washington University Press,
Two educators, one Muslim and one not, created this exquisite book to enable parents and children to learn from the wisdom of Islam. Quotes and sayings framed with middle-eastern designs separate each of the 39 tales collected by the authors. Paintings by Valerie Wahl enhance the beauty of the book, and contribute additional cultural information.
As a storyteller, I am delighted with this resource. There are several stories I want to learn and tell. The Honorable Joha, Mullah Nasruddin Hodja, a sacred trickster appears in a number of tales. His foibles and antics hold up a mirror to all who read or hear the stories. Selections come from West Africa, Mali, China, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq, and Iran. Each one instills wisdom from Muslim culture.
One cannot read this book without realizing how much all people in the world are alike, despite cultural differences. I recommend Ayat Jamilah very highly, knowing I will return to it again and again.
"The human race is created from the one source If one man feels the pain, the others, from the same source, cannot be indifferent to it."