Roger Ibn Tyrone and wife Devina are based in Sydney, Australia and write and illustrate Islamic children’s books with Minaret Mountain Books which all have a common thread of underlying positive teachings.
Roger was brought up in a creative family where his parents encouraged “all roads of making art and music”. He reverted in 2000 and frequently expresses his creative and artistic side and finds inspiration for the stories through his four children.
Similarly, wife Devina did not see herself represented on TV, in toys and dolls, and books, and felt that she needed to make this change herself after she had children.
Their children’s book The Butterfly Refugee was the first one I read out of two. I feel the story describes well the very real experience of a young child in war-torn conditions. While the descriptions illustrated the bleak realities of war, deep symbolism and indirect references were prevalent so that children can properly follow through the stories without a rising fear through their imagination.
Some adjectives and nouns were quite realistic so I would recommend the reading age to start from 8 years with parental supervision, so as to explain further certain meanings to prevent the child’s concerns.
I feel the child is taken through a journey, where he or she is not sheltered away from the harsh truths of war, but they are carried through until the triumphant moments in the story.
They are instilled hope and faith in the story and a message that despite hardship and deep sorrow, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, if they never stop believing. I especially liked the symbolism of the Bunny, that Roger described perfectly in his own words:
“Bunny represents time, acceptance, coming to terms with loss and the strength and courage to move on.”
I feel this book can inspire compassion in young hearts, and to live with the belief that there is sunshine after the rain. I feel it is important to instill positive messages in the early years so young minds can appreciate that while there is sadness, there is also bountiful kindness, beauty and happiness in the world.
It’s Jummah Day is the second children’s book out of the Minaret Mountain Books written by Roger and Devina which I have had the pleasure to read. I really enjoyed the illustrations from this particular book because although they depict everyday activities like getting ready together, heading to a destination in a car together, and playing in a park together, I could feel the joy and imagination sparked from the ideas for the illustrations.
As I understand, Roger’s illustrations are inspired by his children’s imagination and wonder. When viewing the images, I feel like I’m stepping into the beautiful inventive creative minds of a child, always hopeful and joyful, in wonderment.
These feelings complement the story well. It is a simple story of Jummah Day which is a special day that the children spend with their Dad, putting on their best clothes and head to the mosque together.
They pray together and listen to the Imam intently together, and learn valuable lessons on how to purify the hearts and how to treat one another, as well as learning to honour and love your parents.
They then engage in more leisurely activities together. This book has a great simple and positive story that encourages the bond with the family, the value of spending time together, and to be thankful of one’s blessings and reflective of one’s actions to date.
While these activities involve rather complex thinking for a child, they can carry these positive messages and lessons to adulthood to become an exemplary member of society.