Review—Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Ebony Glenn

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In Mommy’s Khimar, a powerful new picture book for children 4–8, a little girl plays dress-up in her mom’s scarves, imagining she’s a queen, a superhero, and a mama bird. 

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Her favorite scarf is the yellow one, and when she wears it, it’s a cuddle from her mom. Even when she takes off her khimar, she carries her mother with her.

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The illustrations manage to be both stunningly gorgeous and playful. They are as flowy as the colorful khimars and as cuddly as the touching relationships.

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The dad makes an appearance, but that at its heart, this is a book about women. Women at the mosque “coo” over the little girl, her Arabic teacher calls her hijab “beautiful,” and the penultimate page features “the prayers of gray-haired women”—with each woman praying in her own way.

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I love the intersectionality of this. The family are black reverts. The little girl’s bumpy plaits form a crown under her khimar. And her grandmother, Mom-Mom, doesn’t go to mosque, but “we are a family and we love each other just the same.”

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This book is not only gorgeous, it is also a powerful teaching tool. The main character’s khimars empower her in the simplest ways—they help her to go places and they strengthen her connections with others. I also appreciated the fact that yes, a khimar has another name—it’s a “hijab,” too.

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Mommy’s Khimar shows the beauty and power of one of Islam’s most misunderstood ideas and encourages peace and understanding among all.

Out from Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster, you can get a copy of Mommy’s Khimar here.

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