In this picture book for readers 2–7, we see the narrator’s family members and friends at work and school in their hijabs and then at home without them. For example, her grandma is a baker, and “her hijab is carefully folded, like the crusts on my favorite pies.” We then see our narrator and her grandma baking cookies at home, where her grandma wears her hair in a bun.
The text shows others, including the narrator’s mom, aunt, troop leader, sister, and cousin, in public with their hijabs on and then in private with them off. I love the idea of demystifying the hijab, and this book does a fabulous job of showing the hijab as what it really is—a piece a fabric. The women and girls in this book are do all kinds of awesome things with and without their scarves. They’re people, just like everyone else. This book can be a powerful read-aloud tool to teach that to children (and their parents/teachers).
I also love the fact that this book uses the word hijab instead of something else, like “scarf.” I’m always pleased when a forward-thinking person asks me in public how I’d like them to refer to some part of my clothing. The labels matter because accepting that something has a proper name and calling it by that name demonstrates respect.
The women in this book are bakers, doctors, artists, and black belts. The many styles of hijabs illustrated show how the hijab is another way Muslim women express themselves. I like that the illustrations show a variety of choices that women can make. That’s why I like that a scene of the community includes women who choose not to wear a hijab at all. I would have also, however, liked to see a woman wearing a niqab (a face covering) in that scene. That is another choice that some women in our communities make, and it is one that I feel is still left out of the conversation.
This is a great read-aloud to take along to class visits in public schools, and I highly recommend it for every home, classroom, and library.