November 19, 2015


Orange is the color of my henna designs, they cover my hands in leafy vines.
Silver is a fanoos, a twinkling light, a shiny lantern that glows at night.

There is much religious turmoil going on in our world right now. As a devout Christian, I always hope that those who do not share my religion will still respect it. In turn, I make an effort to respect religions that are different from my own. For that reason, this week I am reviewing the educational picture book Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns. It is my hope and belief that if we teach children at a young age the beauty of other religions, then they will grow up with a love of their religion, as well as tolerance for others.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is a beautifully written children's book. It is a  positive introduction to some of the cultural practices of the Muslim religion featuring breathtakingly beautiful illustrations, and rhyming prose that educates young children about different colors. Some of the cultural practices highlighted in the book are of women wearing a hijab (scarf) and henna (tattoo-like artwork), and the hanging of a fanoos (lantern) during Ramadan. At the end of the book is a glossary of the terms used in the book that explains what each word means and why it is important in the Muslim culture.

It is not always easy to embrace customs that are different from ours, but if we are to use the golden rule - to treat (respect) the beliefs and customs of others, the way that we in turn would like to be treated - then embracing different cultures, and educating our children about them is something we must make an effort to do. For this reason, I strongly recommend reading Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns to children who are both Muslim and non-Muslim.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that is a great educational tool for teaching young children colors as well as well as introducing children to Muslim traditions. If it is your hope to educate and/or raise a tolerant and educated child who respects those different from him or her, this is a wonderful book to read to a child of any religion, and a great way to introduce a child to the concept of peace and tolerance.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
Written by: Hena Khan
Illustrated by: Mehrdokht Amini reviews books that celebrate culture and educate young children ages 1-10. Our mission is to celebrate children’s books that promote diversity so that parents of all cultural, diverse and religious backgrounds, including those with disabilities have a source where they can find children's books that represent their children. also aims to support independent self-published authors who write educational and culturally diverse books.

November 6, 2015

We are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians

It's Native American Heritage Month and in honor of the many contributions of that countless Naitve Americans have made, I am reviewing We Are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians.

Have you have heard of Sacajawea, the woman who is now on the gold one-dollar coin? Perhaps you know or have heard of Wilma Mankiller, the first female Native American Chief of the Cherokee nation. But I bet you haven't heard of the first Osage Native American ballerina Maria Tallchief or the Dakota artist Shumka-Ishnala aka "Lone Dog," or how about the 420 code talkersNavajo Native American soldiers who helped defeat the Japanese in World War II. These and more notable Native Americans are highlighted in We Are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians.

One of my favorite people featured in the book are Tisquantum aka Squanto, one of the Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims survive a sickness that was killing off hoards of people. He taught the Pilgrims how to plant corn with fish, and how to catch fish with tall, thick grass that was weaved into fishing nets. The pilgrims thanked Tisquantum by inviting him and other Native Americans to a feast, now known as Thanksgiving.

We Are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians is a wonderful historical picture book that every child should read, as many of these figures - if not all, are rarely depicted in U.S. history books. The book also provides a small pronunciation guide at the end to help readers practice the correct pronunciation of Native American names. It also provides a reading list for young readers so that children can continue their learning about Native Americans.

The best part of the book is that it doesn't just state facts, it tells a  personal story about each person profiled. It tells of how Susan La Flesche Picotte, a doctor from the Omaha nation struggled by horseback in a snowstorm to reach a child with pneumonia. These and more personal stories are told in the book. Others profiled in We Are the Many: A Picture Book of American Indians are Olympian Jim Thorpe, writer Sherman Alexie, and the Conley sisters of the Wyandot nation - lawyers who helped to keep a Wyandot cemetery in Wyandot control. If you value the contributions made by Native Americans, this book is a must read for the children in your life.

Written by Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by: Cornelius Van Wright & Ying-Hwa Hu

November 3, 2015

When I Am the Leader

"When I am a representative,
I will be a member of the House of Representatives within the United States Congress
I will more or less fulfill the people's interests and objectives."

Do you ever have a difficult time trying to explain politics to kids? What about the election process? If so, When I am the Leader is a great book to start the conversation. Not only does it describe the roles of elected officials, it also highlights occupations in education that children are familiar with. For  kids who already have aspirations of what they want to be when they grow up, When I am the Leader is a great readr. It describes more than 20 occupations, many of which are determined through elections. The book explains what it means to be a senator, school principal, police officer, mayor and many other professions.

The rhyming prose makes the book easy to read, and makes up for the lack of color in the illustrations. The back of the book features a substantial notes section, which is helpful for classroom lessons. This book is effective in teaching children what it means to be a leader, because it focuses on the duties of each occupation, not on how much  money is made, which can be why many children do or don't want to go into a specific profession.

If you know a child who demonstrates leadership abilities and/or qualities When I am the Leader is a great way to instill future ambitions in them. When I am the Leader is written by Fannie T. Brown and is available at Or if you live in, or plan to visit Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, you can find the book at the Grand Strand Cultural Arts Foundation, which is located at 1208 Hemingway Street in Myrtle Beach, SC.