He has ridden a bike, received a medal, flown a kite and learned the alphabet. He has even traveled into space.
Since the Curious George series began in 1941, the beloved children’s book character has also celebrated different holidays. The playful monkey took part in Christmas, Hannuka and Easter traditions.
But in 75 years Curious George had never celebrated Ramadan.
George is taking part in the Muslim holy month in the new book, “It’s Ramadan, Curious George.”
An Islamic religious center in the state of Maryland, the Diyanet Center of America, held a public event for the new book. Eight-year-old Amina expressed joy to have a popular character like George represent Muslims.
“When I see a monkey celebrating Ramadan, and he does all this stuff, I am surprised,” she said.
Writer Hena Khan is a Pakistani-American and a Muslim. She shows George making food for late night feasts. She also has George playing games throughout the day with his friend Kareem. This helps Kareem keep the daytime fast, a period of no eating.
Later, while enjoying the peaceful sound of evening prayers, George breaks his fast with a sweet date. Later at the mosque, the famed monkey helps the imam prepare food and gather clothing for people in need.
After a whole month of daily prayers, fasting and giving to the poor, Curious George celebrates Eid-al Fitr, marking the end of the fast.
Khan says the publishing company Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, invited her to write the book. It has published the Curious George series for 75 years.
Khan said, “They found me because I had written two other books about Islam and Ramadan for kids. They asked me if I would be interested in doing the book and, of course, I was overjoyed at the opportunity, such a beloved character, to introduce him to Ramadan and in turn to be able to introduce so many children to Ramadan.”
Since the book's release in May, it has become a best-seller on Amazon.com.
As this Ramadan comes to an end, Khan and Curious George remain busy traveling the U.S. in support of the book.
More than 200 people showed up for Khan's reading of the book at the event in Maryland.
Maryam is a local mother of five. She said she was pleased that the book helps explain Ramadan, especially to non-Muslims.
Maryam said, “I am really glad they brought a book about the beautiful month that we are supposed to teach our children about from very young age.”
I’m Anna Matteo.
Vina Mubtadi wrote this report for VOANews. Caty Weaver adapted it for Learning English. Hai Do was the editor.
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Words in This Story
curious - adj. having a desire to learn or know more about something or someone
feast - n. a special meal with large amounts of food and drink
fast - n. a period of time when you do not eat any food : a time of fasting
date - n. a small, sweet, brown fruit from a kind of palm tree
imam - n. a Muslim religious leader