Book Review | Once Upon an Eid

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories by various authors — edited by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed — taking place on Eid, the feast that takes place at the end of Ramadan. They are stories of family and friends, connection and celebration. They are set all over the world, with people in all sorts of circumstances but they’re unified by this one holiday.

Firstly, belated Eid Mubarak to those who celebrated last week! I managed to finish this audiobook on the first day of Eid, but clearly am only just now posting this review.

I really liked this anthology! The stories are pretty short, but each one is very sweet and wholesome. I loved hearing the distinct voice of each contributing author, and the two audiobook narrators — Siiri Scott and Neil Shah — brought all these characters to life so well.

Getting to see the different ways people observe Eid, how their faith impacts their life, and the ways this event touches lives is so moving. It’s a lovely holiday, and I am so happy to have learned more about it, Ramadan, and Islam in general. There is plenty of diversity here in this cast: different ages and genders, different countries. Some people are well off, some are not. Some are refugees from war-torn locations, and some are new students at their school. Some are separate sects of Islam, some wear hijab and some do not. It was delightful to see all these differences highlighted and celebrated in the same book, especially when so often in the United States, Muslims are not afforded this kind treatment.

In the end, Once Upon an Eid is a wonderful book. It is, in a word, joyful. There is so much love and life in these stories. The characters feel a gamut of emotions, have various lives, and even differing relationships with the faith that unifies them, but ultimately all land on happiness and hope. This is a fantastic collection of short stories that would be perfect for middle grade readers, Muslim readers who want more positive representation, or anyone else who is interested in learning more about Islam, Ramadan. Really, if you just want a light, lovely read, look no further.

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