Elise Bellin, Librarian of the Islamic Resource Center, wrote this book review as part of an ongoing series that focuses on a range of books within the IRC collection as a service to the community.
Aisha Goes In Search Of Colour
by Lisa Jane Dhar © 2009 –ISBN:9780860374725
Good deeds are their own reward. So the saying goes. Every time we share with one another we are making the world a better place. Every time we give of ourselves, whether by lending a hand or helping to solve a problem, we are contributing to the greater good and living more fully, exactly how we were intended to live. These are important lessons to learn, lessons that will reverberate throughout a person’s life. And, while good deeds might be their own reward, sometimes, especially when children are learning this lesson, it is important to see this truth in action.
I’m not saying adults don’t need to see this (it’s helpful to all of us), but when a child realizes how profoundly they can affect the world around them or themselves by doing good deeds, it is liable to spiral out into a wonderful habit of giving until it is more than second nature, it is their only nature.
Books like Aisha Goes In Search of Colour try to give young children a tangible image of rewarding good deeds. In the book, Aisha is born without a speck of color. Everyone else already has patterns and swirls, but not her. And though this book could have easily spun off into the realm of either being comfortable with never having color or how to fit in, it doesn’t. Does Aisha wish for color? Yes. But despite the title, that isn’t the purpose of the book. A strong message of accepting Allah and doing what is right is instead focused on. She accepts her initial colorlessness as Allah’s will and would have been fine living like that but wishes for color if it is her destiny to have it. Along the way she finds out how to accomplish it. Every good deed lends more color to her wings. Every righteous action provides her with an internal glow that is shown on the outside. She is led by a wise old owl to find her truest path.
There is a strong moral center to this book and colorful computer-generated pictures that make it fun to read as well as learn from. Everything is written from an overtly Islamic perspective without ever using the terms Islam or Muslim and, for those that might be unfamiliar with the terminology, there is a neat little glossary in back briefly explaining those phrases most common to Islam that are used in the book such as “As-Salamu ‘Alaykum” and “Subhanallah” as well as one for some very basic terminology on butterflies. Aimed at children aged 5-7 years old, this book is a wonderful title to share with young readers.
Founded in 2010, the Islamic Resource Center (IRC) is the first Islamic public lending library in Wisconsin. The IRC aims to provide resources to educators, students, health professionals, interfaith groups, and any members of the Milwaukee community that want an accurate understanding of the Islamic faith, its practices, and its people.