How do you Count Your Blessings? #MCKlitday Review of My Grandfather’s Masbaha


I want to thank Author Susan Daniel Fayad for providing My Grandfather’s Masbaha in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions and crafts stated/described herein are 100% my own.



My Grandfather's Masbaha


Welcome to Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature, a very important and special event.

Mission: Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.


My Grandfather’s Masbaha

Author:  Sunsan Daniel Fayad

Illustrator:  Avery Liell-Kok

Publisher:  Author House

Year of Publication: 2013
Sometimes it’s very difficult to see through the mess that life brings, isn’t it?  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the daily drama that we often forget to appreciate the things we have.  In this heartfelt story of being reminded that we need to appreciate the things that we have  – Adam was having the same problem.  After playing with his friends outside – all day – Adam stomped into his jidoo and sitto’s (Grandfather and Grandmother) house complaining that he has nothing to do – no toys, no fun, nothing.

Jidoo laughed and then explained the significance of a Masbaha.  A Masbaha has 33 or 99 beads.  Most are made out of wooden beads, but can be made out of ivory, amber, pearl or plastic.  It’s similar to an abacus, but instead of counting numbers, they have different uses.   Muslims use the beads chant the 99 names of Allah (3 rounds if you have a string of 33 beads).  The beads are also used for the glorification of God after regular prayer.  Phrases used in repetition include:

La ilaha illallah – There is no other god but God

Subhana’llah – Glory be to God

Alhamdulillah – All praise is due to God

Allahu akhbar – God is most great

Astaghfirullah – May God forgive me

Typically Masbaha are kept in your pocket, purse, in your car, or used as a decoration in your home.  In the story, Adam and jidoo used them to count Adam’s blessings.

Together Adam and jidoo counted Adam’s toys, the trees in the backyard that Adam picks fruit from, the houses in the neighborhood, and the kids he plays with inside those houses.  Soon Adam realized that he had everything!

A very cute and fun-loving story set in Lebanon, My Grandfather’s Masbaha is the perfect story and a fantastic learning experience for the child of any age.


Making the Masbaha

We made a Masbaha to remind us to count our blessings.  The kids were sick with the flu, so I went to the store and pick out the beads myself.  I am not a beader, and do not have all the beading accessories.  Luckily , all you need is a string (preferably something stiff so it’s easy to string) and some beads. I got a combination of wooden and glass beads, and a leather string.  I couldn’t find a tassel anywhere, so we decided to make our own using merino wool yarn that I purchased to make leggings or a hat, or something about a year ago.


Bead Store

33 beads (actually got bought 36 for extras)

Leather string (check for width.  Make sure all of your beads fit).

Tassel – or you can make your own.


Using the Masbaha to count our blessings-1
Making the tassel myself, it cost me $12 to do this craft.  It can be cheaper or more expensive depending upon the beads that are used.


As homeschoolers, this was a fabulous book and craft to introduce us to not only Masbaha, but it provided a good avenue into talking about Lebanon and the Muslim faith.


I want to thank the sponsors Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books Chronicle Books, and Susan Daniel Fayad: Author of My Grandfather’s Masbaha.

To read other reviews of Multicultural children’s literature visit these amazing blogs:

2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica ·  Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac · Children’s Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom ·Just Children’s Books– Kid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout’s Bookshelf · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators’ Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books  · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning · Wrapped in Foil 




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About Lisa

Hey! Thank you so much for stopping by. I'm Lisa - a homeschool mom of 3 (2 boys and 1 girl). I care about the strength of the family in America, and often blog about babies/kids, natural parenting, homeschool, and marriage. Before you leave, please sign up for my monthly newsletter (on the top right). If you do, you will be well rewarded with notification of all giveaways and sales - which will not be announced on the blog. Google+ Profile


  1. This book sounds like a wonderful way to teach children about another culture, but also about being grateful for what we have. The Masbaha is beautiful!
    Emma recently posted…Multicultural Children’s Book DayMy Profile

  2. Wow! I love how you took this book review one step further by making a mashaba! This is a beautiful story with a valuable lesson; and I like how you also used to introduce Muslim faith, and learn about Lebanon.
    Frances recently posted…Discovering the World with Little Passports – BrazilMy Profile

  3. Hi Lisa,
    Thanks so much for celebrating Multicultural Children’s Book Day with us. I love your bead activity. What a wonderful way to bring this book alive.

  4. I loved reading your post and learning about a Masbaha. What a wonderful lesson in gratitude it teaches! Thanks so much for joining us for Multicultural Children’s Book Day Lisa!!!
    PragmaticMom recently posted…Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s LiteratureMy Profile

  5. This is such a great way to teach children about being grateful! I love that you made a craft/lesson from the book. Books are such gateways to great conversation with our children, you exemplified that perfectly! I’m happy to have a friend… who embraces and celebrates diversity– thank you!!!

    • Thank you my friend. It seems like every book we read leaves room for discussion/conversation. That’s the really great part of books. With TV/movies, it’s acted out already – there is no room for imagination. With books, They can be whatever – wherever your imagination will take you. I think a line of picturebooks without illustrations should be published. This way, parents could encourage their children to visualize the illustrations based on what they read. I wonder how that would go over? Probably not well.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Lisa recently posted…Review – The Preschool Rocks Curriculum Bundle at EducentsMy Profile

  6. Holy Cow! You totally rock. Sick with the flu, but making your own craft to count your blessings. I love, love, love it! Thanks for sharing, friend. I pray you all are well or almost there!
    Christine M. (Cool Mom) recently posted…We want you to be part of our Word of the Week posts!My Profile

  7. oh what a fun idea; I want to make some!
    PammyPam recently posted…Blogging from A to Z: I Need Allies like Katniss #atozchallengeMy Profile

  8. I love that you extended the book by making your own Mashaba and counting your blessings in the middle of battling the flu!
    Natalie recently posted…Made by Fathers–a DIY BirdhouseMy Profile

  9. Great choice for a book for Multicultural Children’s Book Day – I just love the idea behind the book and how great that you created a Masbaha with your children. We have a bead store close to us that we love going to. I think I would like my children to do this. 🙂
    Renee recently posted…Guest Book Review: Family Picture Day by Katherine DanaMy Profile

    • Thanks Renee. Yeah, it is really fun. I wanted to take the kids to the store so that they could pick out the beads. But that wasn’t possible. I’m sure your kids will really enjoy that process. Be prepared for it to take a while. Beads stores have A LOT of options!

      Thanks so much for stopping by!
      Lisa recently posted…Sustainable Phil: The History of Groundhog Day My Profile

  10. Thanks for sharing this book at Booknificent Thursday this week! I really like the illustrations! The colors feel so rich to me. Have a great week!
    Tina at Mommynificent recently posted…Readers Challenge 2014 and $20 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!My Profile

  11. What an interesting activity! And the story is such a heart warming one. Thanks for sharing this on Kidlit Bloghop!
    -Reshama @ Stackingbooks
    Reshama recently posted…Kid Lit Blog Hop #32My Profile

  12. Another great multicultural book on a culture that is not well known. Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop. Cheryl, Hop Hostess
    Cheryl Carpinello recently posted…Meet MG Fantasy Author Alicia RivoliMy Profile


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