By Sobia Hussain
I had the pleasure to review Asmaa Hussein’s children’s storybook, ‘Bismillah Soup’ with my daughter. It’s a story about a Somali boy named Hasan who puts his trust in Allah to create a surprise feast for his family and community. “It’s the tastiest soup in the entire world!” said Hasan. His adventure takes him through the markets and the people of his community, showing us the spirit of coming together for something great–and tasty!
“A spinoff of the classic ‘Stone Soup’ folktale, Bismillah Soup is a story about Hasan, a young Somali boy who ventures out to prepare a delicious feast for his mother. With a little bit of elbow grease, a lot of trust in God and the help of his friends and neighbours, Hasan quickly turns his idea into a magnificent plan and gathers the entire community together for a spectacular feast at the local mosque. Hasan’s journey is full unexpected twists and turns that lead him down a path of discovering what community, generosity and reliance on God truly means.”
Asmaa Hussein was kind enough to give us a copy of her book. So, I made a little activity of it one afternoon. My daughter and I had a wonderful time reading the story. It was a comfortable read for my 7 year old with a variety of challenging words to help her grow her vocabulary, but at the same time not overwhelm her. (In fact, she still reads it at aloud at bedtime whenever time permits.) The valuable morals this story teaches are of putting your trust in Allah, thinking of others before yourself and reviving the sunnah of feeding others. As a parent, I was happy to see my daughter grasp those concepts and understand the goodness of it. Without giving away too much, we learn about the Somali culture and terminology as Hasan spends his day meeting all kinds of people from his village. With good intentions, he sets out to accomplish a great generous deed and succeeds. All in all, I think it’s a positive story with beautiful illustrations, maintaining the interest of the child throughout.
Asmaa also gave us a yummy recipe for Bismillah Soup accompanied by a special spice mix to use. I love hands-on activities so I went out and got all the fresh ingredients needed to make it. My daughter actually made the soup with some help with the knife. Safety first 🙂
Wholesome and delicious, this recipe is 100% mom-approved! And you can make it too…
First we diced all the fresh vegetables. It already smelled yummy!
Then with the help of my daughter, we filled a large pot with water and placed all the veggies and trimmed chicken pieces inside.
After 20-30 mins of simmering, we shared a wholesome meal of Bismillah Soup served with toasted garlic bread with the people we care about, our family, just like Hasan did. Give the recipe a try and I’m sure your friends and family will appreciate it!
To order your copy of Asmaa Hussein’s Bismillah Soup, visit Ruqayah’s Bookshelf. You’ll find some other great books for kids and adults which I also highly recommend.