The increase of Muslim citizens within the United States has prompted a surge in the creation of Muslim based businesses and Islamic resources for English speaking Muslims. There are now dozens of Islamic shops and websites where American Muslims can find quality local goods and resources that are aligned with the standards of Islam and easily accessible without having to experience the added expense of having items shipped from overseas.
This is a welcome enterprise, especially in the form of Islamic Children’s books and Arabic Language studies for children and the next generation of little Muslims growing up in the U.S.
One such enterprise has been led by Alameddine Kaddoura of Creative Education and Publishing. Creative Education and Publishing (CEP). CEP is an Islamic children’s books publishing company that is based in Falls Church, Virginia since its beginning and publishes a wide array of learning/teaching materials about Islam from Islamic board games to posters of the Arabic Alphabet. Tthe main mission at CEP is that children have fun as they learn.
When asked what had inspired Mr. Kaddoura to start such a business his reply was, “I browsed many publications in the Muslim Bookshops and I thought, ‘I can bring something new for our kids in the U.S. as most of the material is coming from overseas.'”
Brother Kaddoura is attempting to fill a gap. Although there are many Islamic children’s books and several dozen Islamic publishers that exist, because most of them are based in other countries they are not easily accessible for many parents and teachers, or they are printed in the Arabic language, a language that not all Muslims are fluent in. Mr. Kaddoura has made it his mission to provide resources locally. As a result of his efforts he has seen firsthand how the books and resources that he provides are welcomed by students, parents and teachers, and he is always amazed by the positive feedback.
Mr. Kaddoura sees Creative Education and Publishing as pioneering in providing stories, posters and games that reflect the local circumstances of Muslims in the U.S. and in the West. Some examples are reflected in the story books that CEP publishes. One story published is about kindness to neighbors and the name of the neighbor is Charlie; he is not named Hassan or Tareq which are names normally associated with other Muslims. Another story addresses diversity and describes how a girl from Yemen copes as a Muslim with other students in the public school system while yet another discusses Ramadan in a way that is easy to understand for those who may not be familiar with the Islamic month of fasting.
My first children’s book, Sameerah’s Hijab and the First Day of School was published with CEP and I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to have worked with Br. Kaddoura. For more information and to review some of the products available at CEP click here.