Review: Once Upon an Eid

Title: Once Upon an Eid
Author: S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed (editors)
Genre: Middle Grade, Short Stories
Publisher: Amulet Books
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Ebook
Release Date: May 5, 2020
Rating: ★★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! 

Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift-giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

The full list of Once Upon an Eid contributors include: G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen, Ms. Marvel), Hena Khan (Amina’s Voice, Under My Hijab), N. H. Senzai (Shooting Kabul, Escape from Aleppo), Hanna Alkaf (The Weight of Our Sky), Rukhsana Khan (Big Red Lollipop), Randa Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?), Ashley Franklin (Not Quite Snow White), Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Mommy’s Khimar), Candice Montgomery (Home and Away, By Any Means Necessary), Huda Al-Marashi (First Comes Marriage), Ayesha Mattu, Asmaa Hussein, and Sara Alfageeh. 

Review:

This is a collection of middle grade stories about Eid and Muslim celebrations. Each story is written by Muslim authors from around the world, who talk about different ways to celebrate.

Each of the characters had different traditions and different family structures or situations, which reflects the diversity of the world. Though all the characters share the same religion, they have different ways of celebrating Eid. Their traditions were different depending on where they lived, because some places have a bigger Muslim population for them to celebrate together as a community, whereas others celebrated quietly at home. Some characters had different celebrations because of a sick family member, which changed the way they could celebrate with family and friends. These different styles of celebrating reflected the way people celebrate holidays in different ways around the world.

I had many Muslim friends while I was growing up, but I didn’t know much about Eid. I knew they fasted in the days leading up to the holiday and that the date of the holiday changed depending on the moon, but I didn’t know much about the actual celebrations. This was probably also because people celebrated differently depending on what country they were from and their family circumstances. I feel like I understand the holiday much better after reading this book.

I loved this short story collection! I hope there will be more diverse short story collections for young readers to give readers of all backgrounds something to relate to, and to teach other readers about different traditions.

Thank you Abrams Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

What to read next:

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Have you read Once Upon an Eid? What did you think of it?

2 thoughts on “Review: Once Upon an Eid”

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