Night of the Moon

A Muslim Holiday Story

  • Genre: Fiction
  • Topic/Theme: Muslim holiday of Ramadan
  • Summary: This book follows the main character, Yasmeen, and her family through the holiday month of Ramadan. The different phases of the moon guide the celebrations that take place and Yasmeen, as well as the reader, learns more about the holiday as the story goes on. Islamic traditions are highlighted through the use of arabic words and colorful, ornate illustrations.

Author: Hena Khan

  • Pakistani-American
  • Started writing for her family's newspaper, The Khanicles, when she was in second grade
  • Also wrote the book Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors
  • Now lives in Rockville, Maryland with her husband and two sons

Illustrator: Julie Paschkis

  • Painter/Illustrator
  • Grew up near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Known for ornate and colorful illustrations
  • Inspired by the art of Islamic tiles for this book
  • Other books: Yellow Elephant, Night Garden, and Glass Slipper, Gold Sandal
  • Lives with her husband in Seattle, Washington

Selected Illustration

All illustrations in this book were rendered in gouache (a method of painting in which the opaque pigments are ground in water and thickened with a gluelike substance) and permanent masking medium on paper. I chose this particular illustration because it shows the main character, Yasmeen, and her family walking up to the Mosque (Muslim place of worship). It would be a great visual for students who may not know what a Mosque is or what it looks like.


  • Booklist Book Review Stars, October 1, 2008; American Library Association
  • Booklist Top 10 Religion Books for Youth, 2009; American Library Association
  • Children's Catalog Supplement to Nineteenth Edition, 2009; H.W. Wilson Company
  • Parent's Choice Award, 2008, Approved Picture Books United States

Criteria for High-Quality Multicultural Book

1. Be rich in cultural details

Because it is a book that explains a specific holiday in the Muslim culture, it contains many details about Ramadan and what kinds of customs/traditions are involved. For example, Yasmeen's class talks about how people who celebrate Ramadan often fast during the month. In this scene, the characters discuss what fasting means and if kids take part in it. Another cultural detail that is mentioned is the Mosque. This building is a place of worship for Muslims and is where Yasmeen and her family goes for fellowship and food during Ramadan.

2. Demonstrate unique language or style

Throughout the book, there are many arabic words that are used to describe the holiday of Ramadan and the customs of Muslim people. Words such as "quran" and "mosque" are used to describe the Islamic religion, while "mubarak" and "subhanallah" are basic words in the arabic language. One of the best things about the book is that it has a glossary in the back that contains all the arabic words used and how to pronounce them.

3. Have an appealing format and be of endearing quality

All of the illustrations in the book are visually striking and fit in with the Muslim culture because the illustrator references Islamic tiles for the pictures. Each page has a different border that is coherent with Muslim styles of patterns. The colors she uses also make the pages pop and are very stimulating to the reader's eye.

Classroom Teaching Application

  • Grade Level: Third
  • Standard: RL.3.6 Distinguish their own point of view from that of the narrator or those of the characters
  • Objective: The student will recognize the difference between their own holiday tradition and that of the muslim culture (Ramadan).

  • Connection to Students' Lives/Broader Message of the Book: After reading the story, and checking for understanding of the content, the students will have the chance to talk about their own traditions. In table groups (groups of 4-5) the teacher will allow about 10 minutes for students to talk about what holiday they celebrate, what traditions their family takes part in, and/or what customs they participate in each year. Holidays will not be limited to Christmas, Hannukkah, etc. Students will be able to choose others such as Thanksgiving, Fourth of July, Cinco de Mayo, or any other important day that is significant to them.
  • How It Will Be Modeled: After conversations have wrapped up, teacher will share some of his/her own traditions and introduce and/or review the venn diagram strategy. This will be done on the white board or a smart board so that all students can see the visual.
  • How It Will Be Practiced: After the teacher has filled in a couple lines on the diagram (i.e. presents are given during both Ramadan and Christmas, but Christians do not fast during Christmas while Muslims do fast during Ramadan), they will then ask students for a couple more examples. Teacher should be cautious in using Christmas as an example because many students may want to talk about it for their application part of the lesson.
  • How It Will Be Applied: Once the teacher believes that the students have a clear grasp on venn diagrams, he/she will pass out papers with pre-drawn venn diagrams. Students will then be asked to compare their chosen holiday with Ramadan (if a student wants to chose Ramadan for their holiday, teacher will ask them to compare the way Yasmeen's family celebrates it and the way their family celebrates it). The students will be encouraged to include pictures, songs, poems, etc. to incorporate into their diagram. Once everyone's is completed, they will be displayed out in the hallway.

APA Book Citation

Khan, H. (2008). Night of the moon (J. Paschkis, Illustrator). San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books.

Read-A-Long With Introduction


Night Of The moon by krwells