Book Title: Zero Author: Kathryn Otoshi Islamically Appropriate?: Yes
Book Format: Hard Cover
Age Group: 4 years and older
Book Review: From Amazon.com: Zero is a big round number. When she looks at herself, she just sees a hole right in her center. Every day she watches the other numbers line up to count: "1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 . . . !" "Those numbers have value. That's why they count," she thinks. But how could a number worth nothing become something? Zero feels empty inside. She watches One having fun with the other numbers. One has bold strokes and squared corners. Zero is big and round with no corners at all. "If I were like One, then I can count too," she thinks. So she pushes and pulls, stretches and straightens, forces and flattens herself, but in the end she realizes that she can only be Zero. As budding young readers learn about numbers and counting, they are also introduced to accepting different body types, developing social skills and character, and learning what it means to find value in yourself and in others.
Book Review: One by Kathryn Otoshi has a subtle and important message. In this story, children not only learn about colours and numbers, they also explore the problem of bullying.
Blue is a shy, calm colour and Red is a hot-head who bullies him. The other colours know that Red bullies Blue and while they do not agree with it, they say and do nothing. Soon Red has not only gotten bigger but he is bullying all of the colours and everyone is afraid of him. Until One comes along. Red tries to bully One also but One doesn't allow it and he stands up to Red's bullying. The other colours see how One stands up to Red and they gain the confidence to do the same. Soon, all of the colours stand up to Red and he is disempowered. Red becomes small and starts to slink away. But the other colours invite Red to come back and to join them and all of the colours end up working together. The story ends with a subtle but important message that One person can make a difference.
As much as we may wish this topic was one that did not need attention, that is simply not the case. Bullying is an issue that cannot be ignored and this book, One, is helpful when discussing this topic with children. You can use the ayaat from the Qur'aan and the authentic ahadith about good treatment, good manners, and wanting for your brother what you want for yourself, and then end your unit with this book as a read aloud. Insha'Allaah, the concept of respecting others will not only be understood, but more importantly it will be implemented insha'Allaah. May Allaah guide us and our offspring to righteous behaviour that pleases Him and may He make us of those who follow the best example of His Final Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wa salam).