Thank you to Abrams Kids and Netgalley for sending me an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely adored this book and all the wonderful stories!
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid!
Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift-giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.
This book was pure joy and happiness to read. Even the stories which showed people in difficult situations were full of hope. I cried happy tears several times reading this book and this book will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Eid is such an important day for Muslims and this book captures what it can be like and how varied everyone’s experiences are. Being the oldest sibling I always tried to make Eid a fun and memorable day for my sisters and little cousins. From putting up decorations and gifts which would be opened after Eid prayer to going to the Eid fair and playing games we had so much fun. And reading this book brought back all those memories.
I loved every single story in this anthology which is rare but they were all written so wonderfully and beautifully and I sobbed my way through the book. I loved how diverse the stories were and how everyone celebrates differently and has their own traditions in their family, community and their culture. We see how people all over the world have different food they will want to make or the clothes they were and how they get together with family. I loved how family wasn’t just the mum, dad and kid but showed how families are a lot more varied. It was so inclusive and I was weeping with joy.
The stories themselves were so great and even though this is a middle grade book, and I am an adult I loved them so much. I loved Aisha Saeed’s story about how everyone in the family came to the rescue when Yusuf overcooked the brownies and Asmaa Hussein’s story of how Kareem learns what it truly means to be generous and giving and caring for those who are less fortunate. I also loved that there was also a graphic short story because I know lots of kids love graphic novels!
Each story is full of hope, even the stories where the situation the people are in are less than ideal. Searching for Blue by N.H. Senzai is the story of a young boy who is in a refugee camp in Greece and how the refugees get together with some wonderful people who love there to make the best of the situation and make it a special day for everyone. Such a beautiful heart warming story while simultaneously showing how difficult the lives of refugees are. In fact all the stories have some really wonderful lessons which are integral parts of Islam woven beautifully into the stories.
I cannot wait to get my finished copy and see all the artwork to go with the stories! This book is phenomenal, filled with much needed stories of joy and hope and I adored every single one of them!
PS. These books will make the perfect Eid gifts!