Moon Watchers: Shirin's Ramadan Miracle, by Reza Jalali, is just out this month from Tilbury House Publishers.
Nine-year-old Shirin wants to join her family in the ritual of fasting for Ramadan, but her father says she's too young. This story portrays a middle-class American family in a Maine suburban town, focusing on universal issues such as sibling rivalry, while introducing readers to the experience of living the Muslim faith in the U.S.
It was a treat to work with Iranian-American writer Reza Jalali, a friend and fellow activist in the southern Maine area, who gave me all the references and feedback I needed to render the visual details of his story accurately. The portraits of the family members are inspired by his own family, and many of the objects in the book come from his home.