book reviews

Once Upon An Eid: The anthology where every single story made me cry

Once Upon an Eid edited by Aisha Saeed and SK Ali

Publication Date: May 5th, 2020

Rating: 5/5

Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid!

Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it’s waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it’s the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it’s the gift-giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy. The anthology will also include a poem, graphic-novel chapter, and spot illustrations.

The full list of Once Upon an Eid contributors include: G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen, Ms. Marvel), Hena Khan (Amina’s Voice, Under My Hijab), N. H. Senzai (Shooting Kabul, Escape from Aleppo), Hanna Alkaf (The Weight of Our Sky), Rukhsana Khan (Big Red Lollipop), Randa Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?), Ashley Franklin (Not Quite Snow White), Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow (Mommy’s Khimar), Candice Montgomery (Home and Away, By Any Means Necessary), Huda Al-Marashi (First Comes Marriage), Ayesha Mattu, Asmaa Hussein, and Sara Alfageeh.


Thanks to netgalley for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

Listen I’m so glad I read this before Ramadan because if I’d read this next month I think I would have been so dehydrated from crying so much! ANYWAY, I can’t express enough how wholesome and wonderful every single one of these stories was!

I love that each author was able to introduce their own cultures and bring up important themes like friendship and patience and generosity. There were so many relatable moments (hence the crying) that had me immediately wanting to buy multiple copies so I could give them to my family and friends. I especially loved that because each Muslim experience is different, there were so many unique perspectives (not only with the authors but also with the characters in each story).

Each author brought their own experiences and cultures to light and I really loved hearing familiar stories as well as getting to see new experiences. I was introduced to a few new Muslim authors which always makes me happy, and I got to read more from some of my favorite authors!

Some of the stories were full of hope and joy while others dealt with struggles related to family, friendship and fitting in or spending Eid without loved ones. That one really hit harder than most because of what’s happening in the world right now, but nonetheless it was always heartwarming and gave me hope!

I don’t know how else to express my love and gratitude to these authors for sharing these heartwarming stories. This book couldn’t come at a better time and I would recommend this to everyone, especially if you’re Muslim!

If you enjoy heartfelt stories of children learning the about the spirit of Ramadan, learning about different Muslim experiences and cultures around the world, and want to feel some EMOTIONS™ then you should definitely check out this book! If you want to see themes of friendship, family, hope, loss, fitting in, and the lessons learned in Ramadan… this is the book for you! I would recommend this to Muslims (new and old and of all different cultures) who want to be reminded about the true meaning of the Ummah and of Eid and to anyone who wants to learn about all kinds of unique Muslim experiences told in unique ways!

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