This flashback episode of IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” podcast looks back to when host B.C. Dodge and IRUSA’s Nouf Samarkandi discuss the Ilyas and Duck children’s books with acclaimed author Omar Khawaja. The stories in the series are technically children’s books, but we won’t blame you if you’re an adult and want to read them too.
The Ilyas and Duck children’s book series centers around the adventures of a little boy and his friend (“Duck,” who is actually a duck) as they journey through Islamic traditions, holidays, and moral questions about which children often inquire. Khawaja wrote these books as a way to give Muslim kids storybook characters that were fun and relatable. Most importantly, he wanted to deliver wholesome, universal messages that were centered around giving back and being kind to others.
Khawaja partnered with Islamic Relief USA to compile an Ilyas and Duck activity book that showcases all the meaningful work that IRUSA has done around the world. This activity book is often featured at IRUSA events and conventions, and creates the opportunity for children and their parents to have open discussions about what is going on in the world.
In the podcast, Khawaja describes how the stories highlight important global projects that IRUSA has implemented. “There’s a story going on throughout each activity book,” he said. “One page Ilyas and Duck are in Somalia, and Islamic Relief USA does really good work in Somalia related to building water wells to make it easier for local villagers to get water.”
Aside from the activity book, Khawaja recently released his highly anticipated fourth book, Ilyas and Duck: Ramadan Joy. “It is written in a way that appeals to not just the young Muslim community, but also to people that are not Muslim,” he said. All four books encompass universal messages of love, kindness, and an overall unifying message that we are more alike than not.
The Ilyas and Duck book series can be purchased on IlyasandDuck.com or Amazon. Be sure to tune into this episode of “What a Relief!” and lend your support to Muslim voices and Muslim storytelling. Representation matters, especially for children. And besides, who doesn’t love to go on adventures with a cartoon duck?
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“What a Relief!” is the official podcast of Islamic Relief USA. Hosted by digital media specialist B.C. Dodge, IRUSA’s “What a Relief!” puts a human face on what’s going on in the world and how you can enact positive change in it. New episodes every week!
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