Zain's Super Friday

By School Library Journal

When Zain wakes up on Friday morning ready to use his superpowers to capture alien invaders, he is disappointed that his dad keeps postponing his fun. Zain’s father reminds him that it is Jumu’ah (Friday), which is a special day for those who practice Islam. As they head to the mosque to attend prayers, Zain brings his superhero cape with him. The father and son demonstrate to readers the elements of attending the prayer service, such as “wudu” when they must “carefully wash their hands and other parts of their bodies.” Zain does his best to behave during the service, but he never leaves his superpowers behind. Both father and son are dark-skinned with brown hair. Words and symbolism are used to identify their culture and create an authentic representation of the prayer service. The digitally rendered illustrations with bright blues and oranges also include “superhero” images and callout shapes that represent Zain’s childhood interest and focus even while attending mosque. The author’s note following the story provides clear and helpful information about this Muslim tradition that is introduced to children at a young age. ­VERDICT Combining childhood fascination with superpowers and cultural traditions, this is an accessible purchase for picture book shelves.