Ayesha Dean: The Seville Secret

The Seville Secret is the second installment in the Ayesha Dean middle grade series by Melati Lum. It follows Ayesha, a hijabi Australian teenager, as she travels and solves mysteries with her friends.

In The Seville Secret, Ayesha goes with friends Jess and Sara and her Uncle David to Spain. He has business to attend to while the girls go on holiday. On the plane, they meet Kareem, who is going to Spain to look for his grandfather, who disappeared while studying some ancient jewels. Ayesha offers to help, and adventure ensues. View Post

Lissa

Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution is a graphic novel following two girls, one American and one Egyptian, as they grow up, choose careers, and lose family members. Although the story is fictional, it combines anthropological research about American and Egyptian healthcare cultures with the story of the 2011 Egyptian revolution. This unique concept (ethnography via graphic novel) is the first in a series called ethnoGRAPHIC from the University of Toronto Press. View Post

It’s Not About the Burqa

“We are not asking for permission any more. We are taking up space. We’ve listened to a lot of people talking about who Muslim women are without actually hearing Muslim women. So now, we are speaking. And now, it’s your turn to listen.”

It’s Not About the Burqa was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and it did not disappoint. One idea that comes up again and again in this anthology of essays by Muslim British women is the idea of superficial representation. Muslim women are being embraced by advertisers everywhere these days, but they are only welcome insomuch as they tap a new market for revenue. But as soon as one of these women wants to express an opinion—about global justice or racism or life—she is no longer welcome. This anthology pushes back against that kind of representation, and in it, seventeen women stand up and speak their truth. View Post

Internment

A YA dystopian novel set in a near-future US where Muslims are placed in internment camps? Yes, please! (If this premise sounds outlandish to you, then perhaps you aren’t living in the same world I am and/or you’ve forgotten about the internment of Japanese-Americans in the 1940s. Excluding an entire class of Americans based on unfounded fears happens to be a part of our history.) Samira Ahmed’s Internment creates this hypothetical world, and it was one of my most anticipated releases of 2019.

Bravo to Ahmed for writing this book, and I’m glad to see that it’s doing well in the YA market. I enjoyed seeing a beautiful tafseer of ayah al-kursi in a book put out by a major publisher. I hope readers of all backgrounds will see parts of themselves in the Muslim characters and have important conversations about oppression and silent complicity.  View Post

The Other Americans

The Other Americans comes out in the US today from author Laila Lalami, whose novel, The Moor’s Account, was nominated for the Pulitzer. 

The Other Americans is at once a family saga, a mystery, and a romance. Nora, the daughter of Moroccan immigrants, is sitting in a restaurant with a friend when she finds out that her father was killed in a hit and run crash. As the police try to find whoever is responsible, Nora reconnects with old friends and enemies and unearths secrets.   View Post