Najma

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Author: Anousha Vakani

Illustrator: Ayesha Sohail

Publisher: MPG Books

Year: 2019

Topics: Science, Space, Stars, Astronomy

Pinterest board: click here

Book Description:

Najma loves stars. She wants to swim with them in the ocean-like sky and paint them in all their different shades and sizes. Mama, an astronomer, sets up her telescope and walks Najma through the life-cycle of stars; how they’re born in clouds of gas and dust called Nebulae and how they end up as stardust that helps the universe grow. They talk about Allah as the Creator of the stars and thank Him for everything they love. Full of curiosity and wonder, Najma is written in simple yet whimsical prose perfect for ages 5 and up! Najma is the first in a series of books by Muslim Girl Powered Books

Synopsis:

The story follows Najma and her mother (the astronomer) when they look through their telescope. Her mother tells her about the different types of stars there are (simple explanations). Then Najma asks WHY Allah made the stars, and the mother gives examples of how the stars help us.  I love how the author incorporates Scientific facts with Islamic values. The mom in the story so easily explains to Najma that Allah made them all.

Why I like it:

  • The illustrations are really cute
  • The name of the girl is Najma, meaning “Star” in Arabic. (So that’s one more Arabic word in your child’s vocabulary!)
  • It encourages kids to learn about astronomy and star gazing
  • The author brings in the concept that “Allah made the stars, Allah made everything” which is not present in other kids “Astronomy” books
  • It includes a basic definition of Nebula, Protostar, Clusters, Constellations, Giant Stars, Dwarf Stars, Supernova, Neutron Stars, and Blackhole
  • The illustration of constellations don’t reflect real constellations but theres pictures of a bear, dragon, lion and “flying horse” (But if you want to name them they would be – Ursa Major, Draco, Leo and Pegasus)
  • The mother answers “Why Allah created stars” with examples of how stars are useful – the sun helps us/plants grown, other stars help tell direction and light the sky in the dark, etc.
  • I like the illustration of Najma trying to collect star dust (it was my daughters favorite)
  • I like how the mother is an astronomer, such a positive message!
  • I like the “Kun Fayakun” lit up in the stars. Also  I LOVE this explanation for children, over “The Big Bang theory” mostly found in children’s space books.
  • It ends on such a lovely notes – “Najma thanks Allah for the stars, and Mama thanks Allah for her Najma”

Activities:

  • You can talk about various ayats in the Quran about space.
  • Do constellation activities! You can start with the 4 depicted in the illustrations and add more to them
  • The pinterest board has tons of ideas for space activities, crafts, sensory bins and printables you can pair with the books

Things that could be improved:

The story is amazing, but main reason I took the star off in the rating is because of the quality of the book I received. I haven’t even given the book to my kids yet, and after just ONE story time read to them, it fell apart from the middle! Hopefully this issue is limited to my specific copy, but I am VERY disappointed with the quality of the book.

Overall:

I love science, and Astronomy is a personal favorite. Like the fictional mother daughter pair, I love star gazing with my daughter. So when I saw this book I knew I had to order it! It brings the unique message that Allah created the universe/stars which isn’t present in contemporary books on the subject. (It’s a great alternative to teaching the Big Bang Theory!) I recommend it to be a part of every child’s library. It encourages children to look at the stars and reflect/learn more about the creation of Allah. It also empowers young girls to pursue science, and the mother being an astronomer sends a positive message!! For all homeschoolers, this is a MUST buy and belongs in a Space/Astronomy Unit.

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