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Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

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Toddler book of shapes and Islamic traditions: From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes-and traditions-of the Muslim world. Toddler book by author Hena Khan: Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is equally at home in a c Toddler book of shapes and Islamic traditions: From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes-and traditions-of the Muslim world. Toddler book by author Hena Khan: Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is equally at home in a classroom reading circle and on a parent's lap being read to a child.


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Toddler book of shapes and Islamic traditions: From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes-and traditions-of the Muslim world. Toddler book by author Hena Khan: Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is equally at home in a c Toddler book of shapes and Islamic traditions: From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes-and traditions-of the Muslim world. Toddler book by author Hena Khan: Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is equally at home in a classroom reading circle and on a parent's lap being read to a child.

30 review for Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes

  1. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    Beautiful, beautiful book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    Pakistani-American author Hena Khan and expatriate Iranian illustrator Mehrdokht Amini, who previously collaborated on Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors , team up once again in this lovely picture-book examination of shapes and Muslim customs. The rhyming text describes the shapes of various objects and places central to the practice of Islam - the rectangle of the mosque's door, the hexagon of a tile painted with an ayah (a verse of the Quran) - while the artwork depi Pakistani-American author Hena Khan and expatriate Iranian illustrator Mehrdokht Amini, who previously collaborated on Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors , team up once again in this lovely picture-book examination of shapes and Muslim customs. The rhyming text describes the shapes of various objects and places central to the practice of Islam - the rectangle of the mosque's door, the hexagon of a tile painted with an ayah (a verse of the Quran) - while the artwork depicts Muslims from a wide variety of countries and backgrounds... Like its predecessor, I found Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes to be an immensely appealing book, one which pairs a readable, engaging text with gorgeous artwork. The visual feast begins on the decorative endpapers, and continues throughout, as Amini uses deep colors, beautiful shapes and designs, and elegantly stylized figures to create one lovely scene after another. A glossary at the rear explains some of the words used in the main narrative - iftar, daff, mihrab, etc. - while the author's note gives more information. My only note of caution would be with regard to the author's blanket statement about the depiction of humans and animals in Islamic tradition, and how this is discouraged, because of strict interpretations of the prohibition on idol worship. While this is certainly true today, in many Islamic countries and cultures, and has also been true in some countries and cultures of the past, leading to the use of geometric forms in many Islamic arts, it is not now, nor has it ever been universally true, and there is considerable disagreement on the subject, amongst scholars. One need only think of works such as the Persian Shahnameh , which has been illustrated with both animal and human figures throughout the centuries, to see that this is true. While this generalization on Khan's part in no ways detracts from the virtues of the book, it is worth noting, so that young people don't take away the wrong impression from the author's note. Leaving that one quibble aside, this is one I would recommend to picture-book readers seeking titles with Muslim content, or featuring shapes.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Fizah(Books tales by me)

    Cute.

  4. 5 out of 5

    La Coccinelle

    This is a beautiful little book that I happened to see at the library. At first, I thought it might be aimed at toddlers (considering that it's a "book of shapes"), but it would probably be a little better suited to children who are a bit older. The illustrations are really gorgeous, incorporating a diverse cast of Muslim characters from all over the world, along with shapes and patterns and arabesques that give the book a unique flavour. If I had one complaint, it was that I didn't realize there This is a beautiful little book that I happened to see at the library. At first, I thought it might be aimed at toddlers (considering that it's a "book of shapes"), but it would probably be a little better suited to children who are a bit older. The illustrations are really gorgeous, incorporating a diverse cast of Muslim characters from all over the world, along with shapes and patterns and arabesques that give the book a unique flavour. If I had one complaint, it was that I didn't realize there was a glossary at the back, and I was confused throughout much of my first reading because there were a lot of words I didn't understand. Because of that, I thought that the book might only be suitable for Muslim children whose parents could explain these words. But after I found the glossary, I went back and read the book again, and it all made sense. Overall, this is a great little picture book for teaching children about the art and architecture of Islam. I'd definitely recommend this one! Quotable moment: Oval is the table where we break our fast. When the sun sets, it's iftar time at last.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance

    Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is a beautiful book that explores both shapes and Muslim culture. The illustrations are striking.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dianna

    This book is just beautiful, and the kids had fun pointing out the shapes within the illustrations. It has a nice variety of shapes beyond the basic circle and square.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mjspice

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Once again the artwork here is fantastic.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    This is a very nice concept book, superficially, of various shapes, but really a little introduction to Muslim culture and religious concepts. Probably more of a 3.5 than a 3 star title. However, it doesn't really show the shapes themselves, just the shape of a item being explained. For example, the Crescent is show by a crescent moon. But it doesn't really show the crescent as only a shape. It is a bit confusing if this is supposed to be a beginning book of shapes, which it really isn't. The il This is a very nice concept book, superficially, of various shapes, but really a little introduction to Muslim culture and religious concepts. Probably more of a 3.5 than a 3 star title. However, it doesn't really show the shapes themselves, just the shape of a item being explained. For example, the Crescent is show by a crescent moon. But it doesn't really show the crescent as only a shape. It is a bit confusing if this is supposed to be a beginning book of shapes, which it really isn't. The illustrations are extremely nice. However, they were ruined for me by a note from the artist at the end. Each spread is from a different Muslim country and culture but none of the spreads are labeled with which country, nor is there a list at the back of the book. Why even mention that they represent different countries if there is no information about which picture belongs to which country? This could have been so much more educational, instead of really just offering bits and snippets of information. Recommended, since we so badly need more information about the Muslim culture and religion, but only until a better quality title comes along.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kate Olson

    I was first introduced to Hena Khan's work with her picture book GOLDEN DOMES AND SILVER LANTERNS: A MUSLIM BOOK OF COLORS, and then fell in love with her middle grade title AMINA'S VOICE as well. And now I have another picture book title of hers to swoon over as well! CRESCENT MOONS AND POINTED MINARETS is just as fabulous as GOLDEN DOMES is, and tells stories of the shapes found throughout the Muslim world, while simultaneously teaching lessons of the Muslim culture. The illustrations by Mehrd I was first introduced to Hena Khan's work with her picture book GOLDEN DOMES AND SILVER LANTERNS: A MUSLIM BOOK OF COLORS, and then fell in love with her middle grade title AMINA'S VOICE as well. And now I have another picture book title of hers to swoon over as well! CRESCENT MOONS AND POINTED MINARETS is just as fabulous as GOLDEN DOMES is, and tells stories of the shapes found throughout the Muslim world, while simultaneously teaching lessons of the Muslim culture. The illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini depict scenes from various countries around the world and are playful and vibrant, ensuring this book will be enjoyed by even the youngest of readers/listeners. Included in the back matter are a thorough glossary and an Author's Note explaining the importance of shapes and geometry in Islamic art and architecture. Required purchase for all library picture book collections. Thanks to Chronicle Books for this review copy! I am passing it along to @kidlitexchange for more reviews.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Leila Vega

    This book displays a beautiful presentation of shapes with readers. Every page describes a tradition, structure, or landmark significant to the Muslim religion. This book has been selected as A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year, A Parent’s Choice Recommended seal, and an ALA Notable Children’s Book nominee. The illustrations in this book are in ways simple, yet very engaging. It illustrates Muslim families from different parts of the world. Teachers could use this book to rev This book displays a beautiful presentation of shapes with readers. Every page describes a tradition, structure, or landmark significant to the Muslim religion. This book has been selected as A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year, A Parent’s Choice Recommended seal, and an ALA Notable Children’s Book nominee. The illustrations in this book are in ways simple, yet very engaging. It illustrates Muslim families from different parts of the world. Teachers could use this book to review & reinforce math concepts, such as geometry, as well as, making real world connections. This book not only depicts parts of the Muslim culture, but it demonstrates the global diversity within this religion, which is not very commonly found.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    I love Khan's idea of creating a shape book incorporating examples of Islamic architecture, culture and art! Mehrdokht Amini's illustrations are absolutely gorgeous with deep jewel tones that practically glow. The book design from the cover, end pages and vivid illustrations is simply splendid. A glossary and an Author's Note adds helpful information. I only have one quibble and that is more of a request. In the Author's Note, Khan says that each spread depicts a different country from around the I love Khan's idea of creating a shape book incorporating examples of Islamic architecture, culture and art! Mehrdokht Amini's illustrations are absolutely gorgeous with deep jewel tones that practically glow. The book design from the cover, end pages and vivid illustrations is simply splendid. A glossary and an Author's Note adds helpful information. I only have one quibble and that is more of a request. In the Author's Note, Khan says that each spread depicts a different country from around the world. I would love to have each country identified either on the page or in back matter. It doesn't harm the book not to have it but it would have enhanced it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Peacegal

    What a pretty book this is. The illustrations are a joy to look at. It's a cultural education for children (and adults!) who may be unfamiliar with the Islamic world. I think it's interesting that our library seems to be getting in more cultural picture books such as this, perhaps in the hopes that our town will be less homogenous in the future. What a pretty book this is. The illustrations are a joy to look at. It's a cultural education for children (and adults!) who may be unfamiliar with the Islamic world. I think it's interesting that our library seems to be getting in more cultural picture books such as this, perhaps in the hopes that our town will be less homogenous in the future.

  13. 5 out of 5

    June

    Much needed book. Simple introduction to Islam, by a young girl.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Such a lovely expression of faith though shapes, the illustrations are richly colored and engaging.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stacy Natal

    A rhyming book about shapes found in Islamic art and architecture. The illustrations are gorgeous.

  16. 5 out of 5

    KC

    Beautifully illustrated with an educational and poetic text that emphasizes on Middle Eastern words and shapes found in their structures.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emily Mullen

    While this book is found in the fiction section of the library, I think it can be classified as an informational text. Hena Khan uses familiar shapes like ovals, circles, and triangles to introduce young children (K-1) to the rich and unfamiliar traditions of the Muslim world. A cone becomes a minaret for the call to prayer, an octagon becomes a fountain for wudu, and a hexagon becomes a tile that displays an ayah. Mehrdokht Amini's illustrations are full of color and capture the the art, archit While this book is found in the fiction section of the library, I think it can be classified as an informational text. Hena Khan uses familiar shapes like ovals, circles, and triangles to introduce young children (K-1) to the rich and unfamiliar traditions of the Muslim world. A cone becomes a minaret for the call to prayer, an octagon becomes a fountain for wudu, and a hexagon becomes a tile that displays an ayah. Mehrdokht Amini's illustrations are full of color and capture the the art, architecture, and culture of different Muslim countries from around the world. In my classroom, I would use this book either during a shape unit or a similarities and differences unit (or both!). It can be used as a read aloud to review geometric shapes. I'd have children point to the shapes they see on the page - some are obvious, while others aren't. As an extension, students could write their own version of this book to connect shapes to significant finds in their own world. In a similarities/differences unit, students could compare/contrast their lives and traditions with those in the book, as well as compare and contrast different countries/cultures they see within the book. I love the colors and illustrations in this book. It's also a wow book for me because I'm intrigued by the Muslim world. I visited a Muslim country a few years ago and have enjoyed learning about the deeply rooted traditions that Muslims hold dear to their hearts.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Allia Krassi

    Hana khan and mehrdokht amini did an amazing job on educating the readers about Muslim culture each page brings alive what the religion of Islam is about. It’s shows how loving and excepting islam is. The illustrations Show people of many shapes and colors coming together in the most holiest of places. The illustrations are full of beautiful patterns and show many different architects for example, they show the Ka’ba In full detail it feels like I’m actually seeing it in person. This book shows Hana khan and mehrdokht amini did an amazing job on educating the readers about Muslim culture each page brings alive what the religion of Islam is about. It’s shows how loving and excepting islam is. The illustrations Show people of many shapes and colors coming together in the most holiest of places. The illustrations are full of beautiful patterns and show many different architects for example, they show the Ka’ba In full detail it feels like I’m actually seeing it in person. This book shows so many traditions of the Islamic faith like Ramadan. It also educates people about a lot of The Islamic tradition! While incorporating traditional foods and traditional clothing. I believe people who have little knowledge of islam should read this book it’s beautiful and very educational and makes me proud to be a Muslim.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kelsey

    Age: Toddler+ Concept: Shapes Intricate illustrations highlight different shapes throughout the Islamic world. In addition to the shape identification, Islamic vocabulary is sprinkled throughout. Best for those that identify as Muslim but still great for exposure to the Islamic faith.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maureen

    Another beautiful, accessible informational introduction to Islam for young children. As a teacher in a public school, I find I walk a very fine line when it comes to talking about religion. While a text like this is certainly informational, not theological, I know there are some parents (or other teachers) who won't see it that way. The saying 'knowledge is power' is true. If we give our kids knowledge about the world, they will ahve the power to change it. Another beautiful, accessible informational introduction to Islam for young children. As a teacher in a public school, I find I walk a very fine line when it comes to talking about religion. While a text like this is certainly informational, not theological, I know there are some parents (or other teachers) who won't see it that way. The saying 'knowledge is power' is true. If we give our kids knowledge about the world, they will ahve the power to change it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shane Harcombe

    A beautifully illustrated book for younger readers that explains the significance of various shapes in Islamic culture. I like how the illustrator tried to show the variety of different Muslims from around the world.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Stacey

    Expand your shape and Arabic vocabulary, while learning about Muslim faith, with this beautifully drawn rhyming picture book.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Acipa

    So I learned about shape and geometric in this children book! Me likey 💎

  24. 4 out of 5

    Misbah

    A great book to introduce children to the basics of Islam. I feel like there aren't enough books out there for Muslim children that are just for general knowledge, no angles or agendas. Will definitely be recommending this one. A great book to introduce children to the basics of Islam. I feel like there aren't enough books out there for Muslim children that are just for general knowledge, no angles or agendas. Will definitely be recommending this one.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    I came across this book at the public library as a recommended, newly published read. The story is not very engaging, but it is educational and beautifully illustrated. The illustrations are a combination of media, seeming to include paint and collage. There is not a clear plot, but each page includes a shape related to muslim culture and religious practice. For example, "Cube is the Ka'aba, a most sacred site, where Muslims worship each day and night." The back of the book has a glossary of the I came across this book at the public library as a recommended, newly published read. The story is not very engaging, but it is educational and beautifully illustrated. The illustrations are a combination of media, seeming to include paint and collage. There is not a clear plot, but each page includes a shape related to muslim culture and religious practice. For example, "Cube is the Ka'aba, a most sacred site, where Muslims worship each day and night." The back of the book has a glossary of the Islamic terms, for example, "Ka'aba (KAH-bah): a holy temple in the city of Mecca, the word Ka'aba means "cube" in Arabic. All Muslims face in the direction of the Ka'aba while praying and are required to visit it once in their lifetimes, if they are able, to complete a pilgrimage known as hajj." The illustrations helpfully add visual explanation for the new, unfamiliar Islamic terms. I think this would be a good book for a read aloud so that you can discuss the new images, terms, and concepts together. This book would be great in the classroom for Kindergarten and 1st graders who are learning shapes or for older children to learn about the Islamic art and architecture and the Muslim religion. I might pick out a different book about Islamic culture with a plot over this one, but this is still a good book and I recommend it.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Bethe

    Fresh new look at shapes, through the eyes of a Muslim child. Glossary at the back. Also author note explains more about the artwork in the book, along with the statement that each spread depicts a different country - wish the countries were identified.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kim

    A gorgeous book that highlights beautiful examples of Islamic art, architecture, and culture.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    The colors are lovely, although the human figures tended to tip into the uncanny valley for me. It’s a good celebration of Muslim life, honoring sacred places and the beauty of worship. I did wish there was a key to locations. The endnote mentions that each spread celebrates a different country but I am geographically clueless and didn’t get each one. As a book of shapes it doesn’t work very well. Often the highlighted shape is obscured and the effort to include more of them in the background is The colors are lovely, although the human figures tended to tip into the uncanny valley for me. It’s a good celebration of Muslim life, honoring sacred places and the beauty of worship. I did wish there was a key to locations. The endnote mentions that each spread celebrates a different country but I am geographically clueless and didn’t get each one. As a book of shapes it doesn’t work very well. Often the highlighted shape is obscured and the effort to include more of them in the background isn’t sustained.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I have really liked Hena Khan and Mehrdokht Amini's other work, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors , and this book has much of Aminii's same beautiful, thoughtful illustrations -- but the shapes are often subtle, so I wouldn't go to this book as a way of teaching shapes necessarily, rather the teaching-shapes provides a frame for exposure to Muslim culture and practice (or, for Muslim readers, reinforcing what they already know -- and giving them the experience of being I have really liked Hena Khan and Mehrdokht Amini's other work, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors , and this book has much of Aminii's same beautiful, thoughtful illustrations -- but the shapes are often subtle, so I wouldn't go to this book as a way of teaching shapes necessarily, rather the teaching-shapes provides a frame for exposure to Muslim culture and practice (or, for Muslim readers, reinforcing what they already know -- and giving them the experience of being represented in a positive way in a mainstream published book -- and possibly teaching them something new). It is a great way to introduce Muslim traditions to kids, though. And a Glossary at the back explains any words the reader (child or adult) might not know. The very first spread depicts Asian characters, and the Author's Note at the end states, "In this book, each spread depicts a different country from around the world with beautiful examples of Islamic art, architecture, and culture." (IDK why there isn't a list of countries provided :/ ) In addition to depicting people of various races/ethnicities, there is also a mix of genders and apparel (including a variety of head coverings or lack thereof, and one woman has henna) -- and the iftar spread depicts a man bringing out a container of food to the table, so yay modeling that men can be involved in meal prep too.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    Mixed media illustrations complement a picture book that can serve as an excellent introduction to the shapes and traditions associated with Islam. The text relies on rhyming couplets to provide flow to the lines as readers get a peek into a world with which some may be unfamiliar. But it also can serve as a helpful mirror so that other readers may find their own experiences depicted on its pages. A glossary in the book's back matter explains some of the terms encountered here, and then an Autho Mixed media illustrations complement a picture book that can serve as an excellent introduction to the shapes and traditions associated with Islam. The text relies on rhyming couplets to provide flow to the lines as readers get a peek into a world with which some may be unfamiliar. But it also can serve as a helpful mirror so that other readers may find their own experiences depicted on its pages. A glossary in the book's back matter explains some of the terms encountered here, and then an Author's Note details the importance of shapes and geometry in Islamic art and architecture. Interestingly, each of the double-page spreads feature Muslims from different countries, offering readers a rich variety of examples of art, culture, and family customs. Not only do readers encounter some familiar terms such as Eid, iftar, and mosque, but some less familiar ones to Western eyes as Ka'aba and wudu. I wasn't sure at first about the focus on shapes, but while I was reading it, I ended up liking that decision since it gives readers a chance to pay attention to the shapes that seem so important in many of the images. This is a must-have for classroom libraries because of its accessibility and cultural authenticity. It is a visually attractive book whose images are hard to ignore. They draw readers into their content and encourage them to look more deeply. The book certainly can serve to dispel assumptions and confusion about Islam and Muslims.

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