During this unprecedented period when fears understandably are running high, I’ve been on the lookout for picture books that provide calm and reassurance. Thankfully, today’s Perfect Picture Book was part of my haul from the library shortly before it closed. I hope you can find and read this book soon.
Title: Like the Moon Loves the Sky
Written By: Hena Khan
Illustrated By: Saffa Khan
Publisher/Date: Chronicle Kids/2020
Suitable for Ages: 3-5
Themes/Topics: diversity, parent-child relationship, hopes, dreams
Inshallah you are all that is gentle and good.
Brief Synopsis: A mother shares her hopes and dreams for her children.
Links to Resources:
- Think of somewhere you’d like to travel. Why do you want to go there? What do you need to bring? Draw a picture of your special place;
- How do you “speak truth” and work to uphold it?
- Think about the title. How does the moon love the sky? Why do you think Khan chose this title?
- The term Inshallah, which means “if God wills it” in Arabic, runs through this book. Does your family have a special term that you use, like “ojalá” in Spanish or “God willing” in English? Try writing a story or poem, repeating your special term in each line;
- Several motifs run through the illustrations. Count the books in several spreads, or look for leafy branches (olive branches, perhaps) that appear throughout the book;
- Learn about Islam, the religious tradition highlighted here, and discover Arabic books, crafts, and other resources at A Crafty Arab;
- Download the poster to decorate your reading space.
Why I Like this Book:
With its gently repeating phrase, Inshallah, a mother shares her hopes and dreams for her children as they grow and navigate childhood. I love watching the baby grow from spread to spread through toddlerhood to learn the skills and navigate the challenges of childhood. I also love the gentle support provided by the parents at each step of the way, and the gentle affirmation of love and togetherness at the end.
Soft-hued illustrations in beiges, greens, blues and reds further the gentle feel of Like the Moon Loves the Sky. Of particular note is the inclusion of natural elements that tie the spreads together, and the appearance of books in several spreads.
A Note about Craft:
With its repeated opening term, Inshallah, Hena Khan addresses her, our, children directly, conveying hopes, dreams, and expectations in one-line statements. This low word-count picture book reads like free-verse poetry, or a prayer, as the parents pictured (which are a man and woman, but aren’t specified in the text) help a child navigate childhood. The soft repetition makes this ideal for a bedtime read, and I think it will stand up to multiple readings.
With its low word count, Hena Khan leaves much to the illustrator, including, as noted, the choice of adult(s). Details supplied by the illustrator, Saffa Khan (no relation to Hena), include the choice of a friend that accompanies the text “reach out to make a new friend”, and the choice of “destination” that accompanies the phrase “travel to thrilling new places”. I was especially happy to see a child in a wheelchair appear in the travel spread.
This Perfect Picture Book entry is being added to Susanna Hill’s Perfect Picture Book list. Check out the other great picture books featured there!