Muslimah Media Watch’s Review of THE DUCKTRINORS by Sarabi

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When The Ducktrinors first landed on MMW’s virtual desk, I volunteered to read and review it. Feauxzar’s novel is nothing like any of the other books I’ve read recently. These days, I tend to read a variety of nonfiction, but The Ducktrinors is advertised as a Muslim Science-Fiction Young Adult novel. I’ve been meaning to read more science-fiction, and I was in the mood for something interesting and lightweight. As it turns out, the book wasn’t very light, but it was certainly quite engaging.

The opening pages of The Ducktrinors feature a mix of character lists and notes on some of the Islamic concepts mentioned in the book. While the Islamic concepts might be useful for someone learning about Islam, I found the character list long and unnecessary, especially since a number of the characters listed are of little importance in the grand scheme of the story.

In the first few chapters, we learn the premise of the narrative: Hanifa Ducktrinor (the protagonist) and her family are pious Muslims who are hiding their faith because the Seculars (the ruling power) are persecuting anyone who openly practices their faith. Religion is banned, and education is discouraged because the leaders know that those with education have the power to overthrow the government. Despite her situation—and her parents’ explicit orders to keep a low profile—Hanifa attends all of her classes and finds a way to fulfil her religious obligations during the day. Eventually, the rebellious young woman decides to stage an uprising.

Because I haven’t read a YA novel in many years, I’m not quite sure how to critique The Ducktrinors. At times, I found the dialogue to be a bit forced; there were moments when the characters didn’t seem genuine. Rather, they seemed to be not much more than vehicles that move the plot along. Seeing as Feauxzar’s novel is meant for younger readers who might need a little more guiding, I forgave the painful dialogue. The plot, however, was an even greater disappointment.

In the beginning, the plot was exciting enough to keep me interested, but after a certain point, I could guess what would happen in the rest of the novel. Granted, part of this guessing was so successful because I know that The Ducktrinors is the first book in a series. Still, I was hoping for something that surprised me. Even though I feel like I can probably guess how the series will end, I’m willing to continue reading to see if my suspicions are confirmed. I’m also still holding out hope that something interesting will happen along the way.

The abovementioned criticisms are by no means intended to discourage anyone from reading the book. Actually, I’d recommend The Ducktrinors, simply because of the feeling I had when I finished the novel: I felt good. Sure, I was upset by the way the novel ended (Hanifa’s reaction to the turn of events seemed extremely uncharacteristic), but overall, I felt like I’d just read something good. Perhaps I found the Islamic influence that seeped through the novel refreshing, or maybe I was glad to read about another strong, smart, female protagonist. Whatever the reason, I’ve been thinking about the book since I finished it several days ago, and I’ve recommended it to a friend or two.

Although Feauxzar classified The Ducktrinors as a young adult novel, the somewhat graphic violence, coupled with the suggestions of sexual activity (I think there’s even a suggestion of sexual assault in the novel, but it isn’t stated explicitly enough for me to say for sure) make me shy away from recommending this novel to anyone under the age of 14. While I’m not one to shelter children from the realities of the adult world, there are situations that might potentially be confusing for a younger audience.  Parents who monitor what their children read might want to glance through the novel before handing it over.

The aspects that give me pause, however, are the very aspects I find endearing. Hanifa’s character handles quite a lot. Her relationship with her parents grows increasingly more strained as she struggles to keep her plans secret from them while maintaining their respectful relationship. In addition, she’s experiencing lust, loss, anger, and determination—in other words, she’s a teenager coming to age while trying to save the world. She gives off a strong Katniss Evergreen vibe, though I wouldn’t quite describe the book as a halal version of The Hunger Games.

After reading The Ducktrinors, I’m curious as to what else Feauxzar has in store. She has a number of books available on amazon but at a glance, The Ducktrinors appears to be the only young adult novel. Feauxzar’s current book list gives me a Judy Blume vibe; it seems like she’s going for a mix of young adult and adult contemporary novels. This mix is part of what interests me about Feauxzar, and I’m curious to see whether her writing voice changes depending on the age group of the novel. I hope to see a more complex plot and more refined dialogue in her adult novels, but I enjoyed The Ducktrinors despite its flaws.

Originally posted at Muslimah Media Watch here.

Thank you for reading,

~A Ducktrinor Mom~

Sleep in God’s Protection – An Interfaith Children’s Book Review

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Author:  Elizabeth Lymer

Publisher : Aneesa Books

Description: A bedtime book for young Muslims, Jews, and Christians, in which flowers close their petals, plants close their leaves, and babies close their eyes. ‘God’s peace be with you. God made the night. It is time to close your eyes tonight.’ It includes the prayer of Abraham for his sons (upon them be peace). This title was made specifically as a gift for a baby’s special religious occasion, and generally for interfaith Abrahamic families and friends, and it is only available via Amazon.

Review: Behold, the latest addition to our children’s books collection: Sleep in God’s Protection. I ordered this a few weeks ago, and it was sitting at the leasing office all along unbeknownst of me. Subhanallah…the things I do sometimes.

Anyways, when we finished reading Sleep in God’s Protection, the hadith “When the wings of the night spread , keep your children in, for the devils come out at that time” came to mind. We’re all vulnerable during our sleep especially babies.

Sleep in God’s Protection gives both the child and the parent an assurance that God will protect them during the night. About 26 pages, it’s also an interfaith children’s book because the foundation of Sleep in God’s Protection lays upon Abraham’s (aleihi salam) prayers to Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) for the safety of his children – Ishmael and Isaac).

Our Rassullulah (sallallahu aleihi wassalam) also repeated the protection supplications to his grandsons; Hassan and Hussein (May Allah be pleased with them) and told them the origin of the duas.

To continue, Sleep in God’s Protection is also very colorful, and we enjoyed the rich colors used and the simple texts. My little ABsaurus cooed and spoke utter gibberish throughout our different reading sessions. He recognizes some letters since we’re learning the alphabet alhamdullilah.

Get your copy here on Amazon.

Our Rating : 5/5

Jazak’Allah khair for reading,

~A Ducktrinor Mom~

What (Race) Am I?

Bismillah,

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I was on maternity leave when one day I decided to turn on the TV and watch what kind of shows were on while I was at work. This is how I came upon The Real and this episode. Otherwise, I don’t watch much TV. I go through periods though where I only read or where I’m hooked on certain series. Other than that, it gets challenging to watch TV daily and alhamdullilah for that.

Anyways, the issue of race spoke loudly to me so I decided to author a book for the sake of my own child in America. Prior to that, I had met people in college who had issues with mixed couples like ours. They said that the offsprings of such unions are scarred for life; they longed for a sense of belonging. I thought, “That’s interesting. We don’t have that issue in Africa.” I did my research and BAM! There was some truth in it.

Anyways, the project was in the back-burner for a while and is now being designed alhamdullilah.

Below is a sneak peak page. A bit hard to see but you can have an idea…

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Description: When Nouredine goes to his first day of school at Fitra Pre-School, his joy is crushed when one of his schoolmates asked, ‘What are you?’ and mockeries ensued. He turns to his parents for an answer which satisfies him. This book uses a theist approach to discuss race issues with biracial children from Black and White parents. We can all agree that the ‘What Race Are You?’ is an inevitable question biracial and mixed race children will face at least once in their lives if not permanently. Nouredine’s father is an American citizen originally from the Balkans. His mother is also a US citizen originally from West Africa. Nouredine is American and was born in Texas. Depending on how the reader looks at it, Nouredine can be considered African-American, biracial or multi-racial.

Goal of this post: If you know anybody who is in a multi-racial or bi-racial family who might be interested in reviewing my children book when it comes out, please tell them to contact me here so I can tell them when the Amazon free kindle promotion starts insha’Allah.

Please keep us in your duas so that this project goes through  insha’Allah. May Allah protect us from the evil eye, amiin.

Jazakh’Allah khair for reading,

~A Ducktrinor Mom~

I Can Wear Hijab Anywhere! – A Review

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Author:  Yasmin Ibrahim

Illustrator : Azhari Zulkifli

Publisher : The Islamic Foundation

Distrubutor: KUBE PUBLISHING LTD

Series: I Can Series

 

Description: This book explains that Hijab, which Islam prescribes for girls and women, is not some obstruction, preventing them from leading life in a natural way. While observing this norm a Muslim girl can participate in all activities.

Our Thoughts: I Can Wear Hijab Anywhere is a 15 page children’s book aimed to children 3  to 5 years of age. We love that it’s inclusive of all races and a booster read to young Muslim girls who would love to wear hijab. The texts are simple and the illustrations are well done. I recommend it to Muslim parents.

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Our Rating : 5/5

You can get a copy on Amazon or at Kube Publishing.

To get 10% off any book at Kube Publishing’s website use COUPON CODE : BLOGGERS10 .

 

Jazak’Allah khair for reading,

~A Ducktrinor Mom~

*We received a free copy*

Read the review of I Can Say Bismillah Anywhere! here on my website.