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Yolen, J. (1988). The devil’s arithmetic. New York, NY: Penguin Group.
Hannah dreads Passover at her grandparent’s house.  She’s tired of remembering and observing all the Jewish traditions.  When she opens the door to Elijah, she’s transported to Nazi Europe where she experiences the Holocaust for herself.

My grade:  A
I am partial to fantasy, so I enjoyed that aspect of this story.  I also like how Hannah gained a new perspective on her Grandfather’s behavior.

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Conover, S. & Crane, F. (Eds.). (2004). Ayat jamilah: Beautiful signs. Spokane: Eastern Washington University Press.
Editors Sarah Conover and Freda Crane have assembled an extensive collections of stories from all over the Muslim world.  Most stories include a moral.

My grade: A
This collection of stories is extensive and includes some really great ones.  I was surprised to see some stories I had heard before.  There are few illustrations, but the book is still lovely because some of the pages are decorated.

Demi. (2003). Muhammad. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.
Demi’s beautifully illustrated book gives the life history of Muhammad from his birth through death, including the writing of the Koran.

My grade: A+
Amazingly, I was not familiar with all the details of Muhammad’s life.  I found this book to be educational and also extremely pretty to look at.  It would be a great introduction to Islam for children.

Mobin-Uddin, A. (2005). My name is Bilal. Honesdale: Boyds Mill Press, Inc.
Bilal and his sister, Ayesha, are nervous about starting anew at a different school after moving from Chicago.  They experience bullying and Bilal is worried that they are the only Muslim children.  However, he soon finds the beginning of acceptance.

My grade: B+
The story hopped around and felt a little disjointed.  I also wonder if the storyline would make a Muslim child worry that s/he will be bullied, if s/he lives in an area with few Muslims.  However, the book does have a positive ending.

Wiviott, M. (2010). Benno and the night of broken glass. Minneapolis: Kar-Ben Publishing.
The beginning of the Holocaust, the Night of Broken Glass, is shown through the perspective of a cat.  Benno’s world changes completely in 1938 when the German government begins its campaign against Jews.

My grade: A+
This story is very well-told and I think the use of a cat as a narrator gives it an interesting perspective that would capture the attention of young readers.  Josee Bisaillon’s illustrations are absolutely incredible.  As wonderful as the story is, the illustrations almost steal the limelight.

Schur, M. R. (1999). The peddler’s gift. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Schur’s tale is a new version of wise fool stories.  In this version, Shimon the Peddler is called Shnook by the village children because he exhibits no skill as a peddler and seems unintelligent.  However, Shimon’s capacity for forgiveness shows Leibush Shimon’s true worth.

My grade: A
This book teaches a valuable lesson about stealing, forgiveness and judging others.  Kimberly Bulcken Root’s illustrations show such wonderful facial expressions and add to the overall charm of this book.

Wayland, A. H. (2009). New year at the pier: A Rosh Hashanah story. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
New Year at the Pier focuses on one tradition associated with Rosh Hashanah, Tashlich.  Tashlich represents letting go of one’s mistakes and starting the next year anew.  Izzy has four things he is sorry for and this story follows him as he apologizes for his mistakes.

My grade: A+
I had never heard of the tradition of Tashlich and I think I am in love with it.  I love the idea of a ritual to help you move past your mistakes and learn from them. Stephane Jorisch’s illustrations are wonderful, as well.