Review by Nadia Cassim
Book publisher, Prolance, has just released a book for children titled, Paradise is Oh so Nice by authoress Halimah Bashir. I love reviewing children’s books by Prolance simply because of the outstanding quality of books produced by talented and empowered Muslim women. The storytelling is always animated, bold and appealing to young kids- nothing is held back from the imagination. Paradise is Oh so Nice is no exception. The illustrations by illustrator Laila Ramadhani Ritanga are bright, colourful and detailed, bringing the rhythmic words of Halimah Bashir to life!
This book explores the concept of paradise, also known as Jannah by Muslims, through the exquisite imagination of children. Long and twisty soda rivers, trees that grow kebabs, giant strawberry milkshakes and chocolate and peanut butter castles are just some of the things kids think of when thinking of paradise. As an adult, the book appeals to one’s inner child and I found myself smiling as I thought of all the beautiful things paradise means to me as well.
The book comes in two versions, one universal and appealing to people of all faiths- using words such as ‘prayer’, ‘paradise’ and ‘God’ – and another specifically catering for the Muslim reader, using familiar words such as ‘dua’, ‘Jannah’ and ‘Allah’. It draws on themes from the Holy Quran such as patience and seeking forgiveness whilst also exploring the more detailed descriptions of paradise in the Holy book such as a river that flows of milk and honey.
What stood out for me at the beginning was the personal nature of the book. The author’s note of thanks draws attention to an experience of loss in her family, that of her nephew, who she expresses a desire to meet at the gates of paradise. This and the fact that the book contains reference to her children, makes it all the more intimate and enjoyable. Paradise is Oh so Nice would greatly appeal to children between the ages of 4-9, although I suspect that older children may get joy from reading it as well!
To order a book go to www.prolancewriting.com/paradise-is-oh-so-nice
About The Author:
Halimah Bashir is a homeschooling mother of two beautiful children Abdur-Rahman and Ayah-Imaan. She is the Project manager for a non-profit organization called Islamic Social Services of South Jersey ISSSJ. Her hobbies include hiking, cooking, reading and creating new and fun activities to teach her children as well as other homeschoolers in her area. She’s created a platform to engage and share all of her fun, crafty, and silly experiences she has with her children.
Laila Ramadhani Ritonga is from Medan, Indonesia. She studied Visual Communication Design in Bandung. She has been an enthusiast of children’s book as long as she can remember. She is a freelance illustrator of children’s books.