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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.