Ilyas & Duck Search for Allah by Omar S. Khawaj Illustrated by Leo Antolini
I might have squealed in delight after reading this book. Alhumdulillah, since starting this blog I have found that there are indeed a lot of good quality children’s books out there, but this one, well it just does it all.
Ilyas & Duck Search for Allah is concise in words, but somehow successfully tackles the huge concept of understanding Allah (swt) through His creation in a powerful way. And I think a big part of its power comes from its humor and silliness. The book says it is for ages 3-6 on the inside cover, and I think that is spot on. The dialogue between Ilyas and duck and the animals they meet on their adventure is written on a child’s level of understanding, and is silly, but not demeaning, and my favorite part is that Ilyas and Duck figure it out on their own. There are no adults in the book telling them what Allah is or where Allah is, they ask the various animals they meet in the rain forest, underwater, in the mountains, and come to their own understanding. This progression makes the book pure gold at story time. You can almost see the kids brains turning right along with the characters’ brains in the book and when they get it, forget asking them to wait to raise their hands to be called on and explain it, they are so gleefully excited they can’t contain their understanding.
Ilyas & Duck Search for Allah by Omar S. Khawaj illustrated by Leo Antolini
The book starts with an ayah from the Quran and is not preachy or cultural. There is a glossary of sorts at the end telling a little bit about the four animals they meet and each of the 39 pages are beautifully illustrated. The dialogue and interactions remind me a lot of the show Justin Time, which is neither here nor there, but conveys my impression of the story’s tone.
Whether you have students or children that are naturally curious and have asked where they can find Allah or not, this book is engaging and fun and one the kids want read to them over and over again, alhumdulillah.