Why the two sisters weren't wearing new clothes for prayers was beyond Aneesa's understanding. After all, it was Eid al-Adha.
The 6-year-old girl was feeling sad knowing that on the biggest Muslim holiday her parents were thousands of miles away in Saudi Arabia for the Hajj pilgrimage. Her grandmother was doing her best to cheer her up.
Aneesa wore one of the Eid outfits that her grandmother brought from her homeland of Pakistan, and her favorite dinner of lamb korma waited for her at home. Still, she couldn't help wonder why the two girls she had just met weren't wearing their Eid outfits? She soon learned it was because they were refugees, driven from their country by war.
"It was the first time she realizes other people have it worse off 'than I do,'" said Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin, the author of "The Best Eid Ever," published by Boyds Mills Press. "She connects with them. She feels for their situation, and she comes up with a plan for them to have a special holiday, as well."
Mobin-Uddin, a Marion Catholic High School graduate who now lives in Dublin, hopes the book, her second, will help children connect with each other, too.
"I think it's important to raise awareness in the community," she said. "I wanted to give that example for kids that you can do something about this. You don't have to be grown-up and have a job and make money. You can do something yourself by reaching out and giving of yourself to make a difference."
With "The Best Eid Ever," as with her first book, "My Name Is Bilal," Mobin-Uddin attempts to tell a story to which children of all cultures can relate while learning about the Muslim religion.
Larry Rosler, an editor who worked closely with Mobin-Uddin on the book, said the publishing company shares her objective.
"Again, it's an attempt to expose the larger culture, American culture, to our Islamic or our Muslim friends," Rosler said. "It's part education, part expanding awareness to open up some communication. You can see that just now, even in the couple of years we were working on it there are more teachers introducing the Eid holiday."
A pediatrician, Mobin-Uddin currently is not practicing as she spends time raising her three children ages 9, 7 and 4. She said she wrote the book to fill a void in children’s literature. (MORE)
[Note: Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin is board chairwoman for the Ohio chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations]