Books: It’s Ramadan, Curious George
by Bob Schwartz
Something can be significant and cute. It’s Ramadan, Curious George is that.
Published this past May, the book is a way to introduce little ones to the possibility that others believe differently, that there are other religious and cultural traditions than their own. In this case, a Muslim holiday is introduced through the antics of that famous playful monkey. (George distracts his hungry friend by playing checkers with him.)
H.A. and Margret Rey, the creators of Curious George, were German Jews living in Paris when the Nazis invaded in 1940:
Knowing that they must escape before the Nazis took power, Hans cobbled together two bicycles out of spare parts. Early in the morning of June 14, 1940, the Reys set off on their bicycles. They brought very little with them on their predawn flight — only warm coats, a bit of food, and five manuscripts, one of which was Curious George.
The Reys made it to New York with the manuscript. The first Curious George book was published in 1941 (this is the 75th anniversary). The rest is history, and a part of the lives of millions of kids (and their parents).
It is possible to help make the world better one book, and one monkey, at a time.