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Laila's Lunchbox

One of my absolutely favorite Ramadan stories for kids is “Lailah’s Lunchbox” by Reem Faruqi , and published by Tilbury House

The story is about Lailah who moved from Abu Dhabi to America. She is excited to fast Ramadan and not have to take her “lunchbox” with her to school. When she arrives at school, however, she feels too nervous to tell her teacher and her friends about Ramadan, and so just pretends that she forgot her lunchbox at home. She heads to the library and talks to the librarian Mrs. Carman about her difficulties with expressing herself. Mrs. Carman suggests writing her thoughts down. So, Lailah writes a letter to her teacher Mrs. Pensworth, and includes a lovely poem on Ramadan in it. Mrs. Penworth writes a letter back to Lailah commending her on her choice to fast and asking her to share her poem with the class. Lailah gains confidence by this process and the book ends with her looking forward to reading her poem to all her friends.⠀

This story brought up many important issues that I discussed with my kids. ⠀

One such issue is that it is sometimes a challenge to explain one’s faith to those not familiar with it, especially for a young Muslim in America. The story beautifully shows how Lailah struggles with her emotions, and her eventual success at expressing herself shows children that it is okay to experience emotions of fear and insecurity, but that they should push through them with determination, and that they will feel better when they are true to themselves.⠀ I really liked that Laila found the solution to her problems in the library; I often sought out reading when I was young as comfort, and I hope my children learn to love reading as well.⠀

I also liked that Laila uses writing to express herself. ⠀ As a writer myself, and I hope one day a published author, I hope to encourage my own children and others to use their own words to express themselves.⠀ Check out Ayeina to see the craft me and my kids made with this book.⠀ ⠀ Get this book from Siraj - An Islamic Lifestyle Store for 16.95 usd.


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