Eid is almost here….just 2 days left. We’re choosing books for the LiS schools and MOP sites. ‘What book should I do,’ I wondered. I wanted to pick a book that kids would get and be able to connect with for the week.
As I scrolled through the list of big books we have, I stumbled across Ismat’s Eid. ‘Why not?! I thought.
The clock hangs heavily over our heads in the LiS classrooms…. 40 minutes HAS to be used to the optimum to do everything our session entails. Ismat’s Eid is a bit of a long book to pull off with an extension activity and lending and browsing and discussion. ‘Should I? Should I not?’, I wondered out loud. ‘Go for it!’, was the response.
We did a pre-session run through on Wednesday morning: ‘Big book’…check!, ‘stationary box’….check!, ‘activity books’….check!, ‘lending books’…check!, ‘lesson plan in mind’….check! …and we were off to school!
Kasturba Matoshri is the perfect place to transact this book, I thought. And thus began our session. ‘What’s that day we all look forward to every week?’,I asked the class. Not a blink of an eyelid; ‘SUNDAY!, they responded. ‘And what other holiday are we getting this week?’……’Ahhhh Eid! Eid’, they chorused.
Many kids in this 6th grade class were doing Roza as well, so, thus far, the book was spot on. Excitement as the kids told me the things they did in preparation for Eid. ‘Buy new clothes…..clean the house….make different types of food….give alms….wish each other….’ We were on a good start, the kids would soon see that these were just the things that Ismat would do too!
Time to read the book…. *deep breath*…. ‘So the name of the book is Ismat’s Eid…..’ and from.that moment on, Ismat had the attention of the full class. Along with my read aloud, there was an ominous tick-ticking that was followed by the harsh sound of a bell ringing; Recess….already?! I didn’t have a choice, I had to stop and ask the class what they wanted to do, ‘Teacher, aagey paddo’, they told me. They then shouted at the kids who were beginning to make noise in the class, ‘Arrey! Chupp raho, aur story suno, nahi toh, bahar jao, humme sunna hai!’ Heart warming moment, and I carried on with the read aloud.
As Ismat cried, ‘O Alllllahh!’ the kids laughed out loud and 1 boy said- ‘Teacher, pant chotta hoga!’ ‘Dekh lete hai….’ I said to him. I turned the page; ‘Arrrrre re! Chotta ho gaya!’.
I turned the last page…*phew!*…. ‘Yaaaaay!’, I heard and thought they were happy that they could finally attend to their mid day hunger pangs. Not quite! They were clapping! ‘Thank you Teacher!’, I heard, ‘Accha lagga!’
I had about 7 minutes of interval time left before the next class. Time enough to take in the moment and catch a breath before we started with Std. 5.
Live by the bell, read by the bell! It was time! And so I launched into discussion with Std. 5. We discussed festivals, we discussused holidays, we discussed prepping for festivals and Eid…..and then I picked up the book. Page by page, they followed Ismat and the travails of his trousers with rapt attention. They oooooh-ed aaaaaaah-ed and hahaha-ed in all the right places. They slapped their foreheads and nodded when they did the maths of how many fingers lenght was cut from the trousers and they sighed at the end of the story, content that all had gone well.
What a good day for read alouds we thought, as Sheena, Priya and I left the school.
The school morning was through, but my read alouds with this book were not yet done. Tonca MOP this evening; and I had very ambitiously (I think, in retrospect) chosen to do this book; this at a site where the really young ones run around your knees during a session and attention spans have been known to flicker, AND on a day before a holiday.
And so……Ismat’s Eid story went to Tonca MOP as well. As I read with a high amount of apprehension, subconsciously worrying about having to close the book mid-way because they would not want to sit for the whole story.
But; I’ve seen first hand; this is the magic of a good book. They sat still and listened, even the older kids who don’t normally stay for the session. Well most of them did, Vikas and Raunak were in too much of a festive mood to sit still for anything!
As the story got done, there was a look of happiness around. Planning an extension for a book like this one is a bit hard, and really, I wanted to focus on the read aloud. So when the time came and the kids said, ‘Ab drawing book milega!’; I took a moment before I asked them what they wanted to do. Unanimously, they wanted to draw a picture of the story.
And so it was. All around the room, pictures of Ismat’s Eid were being created.
Across sites, the kids agreed that Ismat was a good man. He was a hard working man. He thought of everyone else. ‘Usko sabka pasand ka colour patta tha’.
They agreed that the family came together and solved the problem.
They agreed that they liked the story of Ismat’s Eid. I agree with them. The long story, the hard to extend story, the time taking story….the wonderful story!