Wednesday, February 24, 2010

5th meeting

Our today's story - "The Fisherman and His Wife" from "The Brave Little Taylor and Other Stories" by the Brothers Grimm

Again it was Wednesday, again we came together for another meeting of our Bookworms club. As we sat down on the carpet and got ready to listen to the story, Umm Uzair asked us, what we call at home our mothers. It turned out that some of us call our mothers "mamma", while others use "ummi". Then, Umm Uzair asked us, what kind of things do we usually ask our mothers to do for us or give us. Surprisingly, nearly all the answers steered into the same direction - that of sweets and snacks! As we talked, we realized that as soon as we had got something we asked for, we had in our mind already the next thing we wanted to have... and the list could go on and on. We had to admit that we ask our mothers for all kinds of things about thousand times per day. :) Umm Uzair asked us to think about what our mothers might be feeling, when they have to attend to so many requests.

When Umm Uzair opened the book to read the story, she said that she wasn't feeling very well - she had a sore throat. On hearing that, right away two volunteers offered their help for reading the story out aloud. So it was decided that Uzair would read the first part of the story, and Isa would read the second part of it. Umm Uzair told us that all the stories in this book are written by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, two German brothers, who lived some centuries ago. She also told us that the brothers Grimm are very famous all over the world due to the nice childrens' stories they have written.
This time, the story was about a poor fisherman and his wife Ilsa. One day, the fisherman caught an enormous fish, which turned out to be a prince under a magic spell. Since he couldn't eat a prince, he let it back in the sea. On hearing this, his wife Ilsa became angry and sent him to request some present from the prince - she wanted to have a cottage to live in. However, once she had got the cottage, she wanted a palace; once she got a palace, she wanted to be a king; once she became a king, she wanted to be an emperor... her list of wishes seemed to have no limts. Her last wish was that of wanting to be like God - so she could make the sun and the moon rise! Can you believe that? This wish really upset the fish prince, and he took away from her all the things he had given her - she was back in her poor house once again...
We learned from this story that we should always be thankful to Allah (swt) for the things that we have. We realized that if we kept on wishing for more things, our list of wishes woul never end and we would never feel happy. Umm Uzair encouraged us always to look at people, who are in less fortunate situation than ourselves, instead of looking at people, who are richer and have more things.
After the story, we made our very own fish princes. Umm Uzair said to us to keep these fishes as reminders to be happy with what we have and say thanks to Allah (swt) for all the wonderful things He (swt) has given us.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

4th meeting

Our today's story - "A Necklace of Water Drops" from "The Talking Tree and Other Stories" by David McRobbie

We were happy to get together for yet another book club meeting. Today, Umm Uzair started out by asking us, if we like to receive gifts. Only a few hands went up, because this question had brought some confusion - Uzair said that Muslims should not receive gifts. Umm Uzair realized, what he had in mind – he was thinking that as Muslims, we should not receive gifts on our birthdays, because we don’t celebrate birthdays. However, having gifts on other occasions is fine. Isa clarified that we don’t celebrate birthdays, because our Prophet (saw) didn’t do it – thus, we also should not do it, because we should follow his example in all things.

Then Umm Uzair asked us about the favourite gifts that we’ve had. Vajih’s favourite one was M&M’s. Hiba also went for the sweets – her favourite one was ice-cream. Hafsa liked her blue bouncy ball. Muadh liked his sword. Uzair liked his robot-toy. But Isa surprised us all – he said that he liked all the gifts that were given to him, Alhamdulillah. And he is right – we should be happy about even the smallest gifts that people give us, because they are given with good intention of the giver.

“Would you like to have a gift every day?” was a question that immediately put smiles on our faces. But then, as we thought about it more, we realized that it would mean over 300 gifts per year, over 600 gifts in two years and nearly a 1000 gifts in 3 years!!! Where would we keep all of them? Would we be able to play with all of them?
With these thoughts in mind, we started reading our today’s story “A Necklace of Water Drops”. It was about a princess in China, who loved to receive gifts. She had so many gifts, that in her father’s palace, she had whole rooms filled with them. Plus, she insisted on having a birthday every week, so that her father would give her a birthday gift every week. Once, while looking at how water drops shine in bright sunshine, princess got an idea of a very special gift she would like to have - a necklace of water drops! Needless to say, no jeweler in the whole emperor’s kingdom could make it for her, and all of them were thrown in prison. Then, one day a beggar came to palace and said he had heard of the emperor’s problem. He said he would make the necklace, if princess would bring for him the drops of water. Princess happily rushed to the fountain to bring the drops but soon realized that it is impossible to bring them, just as it was impossible to make a necklace of water drops. The beggar called the princess a silly girl and the king also realized that he had been silly requesting the jewelers to make such a necklace. So the jewelers were released, the princess gave away all her gifts to the people of China, and the emperor stopped giving gifts to the princess.
Later, after finishing the story, Vajih correctly noted that if we would freeze these drops of water, then we could make necklaces out of them. The others, though, said that in old times in China nobody had fridges or freezers - that's why the jeweler's couldn't turn water into ice.

Having read about this princess in China, we made a craft related to China – a Chinese paper lantern. You can make one yourself, by following the directions described here: When our lanterns were ready, we thought it would be good to send them as gifts to that princess in China. :)

These and other types of paper lanterns are typical celebration decorations in China. They are especially popular during the Chinese festival dedicated to the starting of the new lunar year. Chinese people place a light-bulbs inside the lanterns, which make them shine in different colours, once it gets dark outside. Here in the pictures below, you can see some more types of Chinese paper lanterns. Some of them have the bulbs inside!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

3rd meeting

Our today's story - "Who Can Save Noor?" from "The Talking Tree and Other Stories" by David McRobbie

We had so many new friends join us today for the Bookworms Club! We were happy to get to know Zainab, Amina, Ayesha and Maaria.

Today was a special day for all of us, because we made our very own Bookworm, which will be watching us every Wednesday, as we read the stories and do our crafts. Umm Uzair had prepared the head of the Bookworm and it was our job to make the joints for his body. Each of us took a page of colour paper, put our left hand on it, drew a line around our palm, cut out the shape and wrote our name in the middle of that hand-print. As each of us finished our hand-print, Umm Uzair stapled them one by one to the head of the Bookworm to form his body. So the body of the Bookworm is made up of us! And the more members we'll have in our club, the longer our Bookworm will grow, Insha'Allah. Here in these pictures you can see our Bookworm and you can see also our little hand-prints with our names on them.

After finishing our Bookworm's project, we sat down and Umm Uzair started out by asking us, if we have ever lost anything, how we felt about it, and what we did in order to find that thing that we had lost. Ayesha had lost her bag, Hafsa and Uzair had lost their balls. All of us agreed that we were sad about loosing things. As we talked about finding those lost things, Ayesha's mom suggested that there is a special Dua we can say, which would help us to find our things sooner. Of course, who else, if not Allah (swt), can help us find these lost things?

Then, Umm Uzair asked us, if we ourselves have ever got lost. It turned out that Isa and Vajih had got lost! Isa was lost in Makkah, when he and his family went there for Umrah, while Vajih was lost in a park. Isa told us that there is a special place in Makkah, where the kids, who are lost, are taken to, so that their parents can find them again. That's where somebody had taken him, and that's where his parents had found him again. All of us agreed that in case we get lost anywhere, it is good to know by heart the phone numbers of our parents, as well as the address of our home.

Today's story was also about a child, who had got lost. In the story "Who Can Save Noor?", a little boy Noor had got lost by falling into an old well. All the villagers looked for him but couldn't find him, until a girl by name of Harun remembered about this old well and asked the villagers to go there and check it. And, indeed, Noor had fallen into that well. Harun, who was of short height, was the one, who was lowered on a rope through the narrow opening of the well to bring the Noor up. Harun saved Noor!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

2nd meeting

Our today's book - "The Lorax" by Dr. Seuss

We started out this morning with a conversation about Karachi industrial area - that part of Karachi, where many factories are located. Out of all of us, only Uzair and Hafsa had been to this area and seen the factories there. As we discussed, what is being made in factories, we discovered that nearly all the things we eat (candies, ice-creams, biscuits, bread, etc.) and wear (shoes, shirts, pants, etc.) come from such factories. Vajih mentioned that eggs also come from factories, to what Uzair replied that it's not true, because eggs come from bakeries. :):):) We had some good laughs, as we realized that eggs and meat come from farms, not factories.

Uzair and Hafsa said that in the industrial area of Karachi, they saw lots of tall chimneys, which threw in the air black smoke. We talked how this smoke and chemicals used in factories pollute the environment. Then, Umm Uzair read to us the book, which Isa, Muadh and Hiba had brought along with them from their home - it was Dr. Seuss "The Lorax". In this book, Lorax was trying to protect the beautiful environment he and other creatures lived in from the greedy Once-ler, who built a huge factory, because of which nature got destroyed.

Once-ler in this book was telling his story through a Whisper-ma-Phone, which you can see in this picture. Umm Uzair offered to us to make our very own Whisper-ma-Phones! We needed for this project the following things: paper cups, string and some toothpicks. If you want to make your own Whisper-ma-Phone, visit the following webpage for directions: When your phone is ready, you have to remember keep the thread between the two cups streched, as you talk - otherwise the phone won't work properly and you won't be able to hear the other person.

When we completed our Whisper-ma-Phones, we whispered to each other through these phones, which part of the book we liked the best. Isa liked the best the part, in which Lorax lifted himself by his pants and flew away into the sky through a small opening in the dirty smog. Uzair liked the best the part, when Lorax came out of the tree stump. Hiba and Muadh agreed that they liked the best the Truffula trees with their colourful and soft tuft. But Hafsa said that she enjoyed the most the part about the Barbaloots, who didn't have any fruits of Truffula trees to eat, because so many trees were cut down. They had empty stomacks full of gas only.

Just like after our first meeting, this time we also had some light snacks and went outside for stretching our legs and playing some running games.