Salat in Secret (Hardcover)
“Daddy’s joy is bigger than him. It’s a wide, gap-toothed smile and a deep rumbling laugh that shakes the dinner table kind of joy.” When a book begins this way, you know that the story is going to be full of love and joy. It is Muhammad’s seventh birthday and he is finally old enough to pray five times a day. Having a place to pray at home is no problem, but what about at school? Muhammad has many worries-how to tell his teacher, what will his classmates say, where can he hide away to pray? After spending time with Dad, and seeing him pray out in the open, Muhammad comes to understand that prayer is not something to be hidden away. With that newfound confidence, Muhammad tells his teacher about his need for a place to pray, and even though he’s nervous about it, he also knows that “bravery sometimes comes with shaking”. The tension between fear and courage, and the empowering focus on empathy, self-confidence, and community building speaks to all children. As always, Hatem Aly’s illustrations are colorful and joyful, marrying perfectly with the text to create an absolute gem
- Lauren D’Alessio, Wellesley Books (Wellesley, MA)— From NECBA Windows & Mirrors 2023 Short List
In this beautiful story of community, family, and acceptance, a boy named Muhammad receives a special salat rug on his seventh birthday. Seven is the age when Muslim children are encouraged to pray, and Muhammad is determined to do all five daily prayers on time. But one salat occurs during the school day--and he's worried about being seen praying at school. His father parks his truck to worship in public places, and people stare at and mock him. Will the same thing happen to Muhammad?
In the end, with help from his teacher, he finds the perfect place to pray. Salat in Secret, by two highly acclaimed Muslim creators, is a poignant and empowering look at an important facet of Islam that many observant children cherish but might be scared to share.
Hatem Aly is an Egyptian-born artist who has illustrated many books for young people. They include The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S. K. Ali, a New York Times bestseller; In My Mosque by M. O. Yuksel, which received four starred reviews; the Newbery Honor-winning The Inquisitor's Tale by Adam Gidwitz; and the Yasmin series by Saadia Faruqi.
★ "Digital patterened art and vibrant backdrops....depict the tale’s ample emotions in this sincerely wrought celebration of family and faith." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"For anyone who has ever felt a little worried about sharing a beloved family or cultural ritual, this title will be welcome and even cherished; it will also inform some readers about Islam and explain a bit more about the practice of prayer." —School Library Journal
"Readers familiar with finding pride in their religious customs even as they are ostracized will both relate to Muhammad’s troubles and cheer for him when he musters the courage to ask for a place to pray at school." —The Bulletin