Tuesday, March 26, 2013

TIME TO PRAY by Maha Addasi

Addasi, Maha. Time to Pray. Illustrated by Ned Gannon. Honesdale, PA: Boyd's Mills Press, 2010. ISBN-13: 978-1590786116. $17.95.

Time to Pray endearingly takes the reader into the personal world of a young Muslim girl and her bond with her grandmother which grows stronger as the girl's sense of spirituality develops. Visiting her grandmother in an undisclosed Middle Eastern country, the girl slowly steps into the world of prayer, one of the five tenets (or pillars) of Islam, and with each step she grows more thoughtful about the meaning behind praying as well as more excited to discover new ways to remember her grandmother. By keeping this in an unnamed country, Addasi allows the reader a chance to feel the threads that weave this spiritual act without any cultural or social influences; it's just a simple story about love and devotion in its many forms and serves as a wonderful introduction to Islam for all readers.

The illustrations, all done in oil, feel as soft and tangible as the sentiments that brew within the story. The rich colors and vibrant expressions are equally nurturing and evocative. The text itself is translated with the English and Arabic side by side. Addasi also includes a an informational page at the end explaining about Islamic prayer and the different times, an added benefit. Overall it's a brief, tranquil look into a different religion but more importantly, into a girl's maturing love and spirituality.

Reviewed by Alya Hameed

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