Zak and His Little Lies by J. Samia Mair illustrated by Omar Burgess
In the first Zak book, Zak had good intentions that just never went his way and we, as the readers, really felt bad for him. In this new book, it takes a few pages to feel sympathy for Zak as his little lies get him in trouble, but sure enough when he finally changes his ways, it is cause for relief, celebration, and a great lesson to teach kids something that they do without much thought.
The book claims to be for 3 to 7 year olds, but I think it works best for 3rd graders who seem to be testing honesty out. Yes, it is great to introduce it to younger kids, and you really should, but like the first Zak book, the pages are a bit text heavy and the concept really should be understood without too much hand holding. For me, the power of the book is the way that Zak’s little lies snowball in to a habit, and the climax really is something that you want the child to feel from within, not as just an adult once again telling them to be honest and not lie and to listen.
Zak starts the book with one more chore to do until he can go to the skate park with his Baba to play. But, he gets caught in a lie about his bearded dragon, Dwayne, and the stage is set for him to get through the day honestly. The next test doesn’t involve lying to his parents, but rather some kids from school that tease him, he doesn’t tell the truth and consequences ensue. Next up he lies to his sister, again a great addition in showing that honesty is not just important when dealing with parents or adults, but that it needs to be the standard in all our dealings. At the end, it is his sister getting in trouble for something that he has done that forces his to come clean about his whole day and to learn that truly, “Nothing in the earth and in the heavens is hidden from Allah” (Surah Al-Imran 3:5).
The hardback book is 29 pages with the last two pages being Discussion Questions and more information about the Quran Ayats and Hadiths mentioned. The illustrations are not too busy, but the characters facial expressions are spot on, and often where the emotional cues for the text are found.