Review—Mirage by Somaiya Daud

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While this book does not have Muslim representation, Somaiya Daud is a Muslim author, and I’m all about supporting Muslim authors. 

Blurb from the publisher:

In a world dominated by the brutal Vathek empire, eighteen-year-old Amani is a dreamer. She dreams of what life was like before the occupation; she dreams of writing poetry like the old-world poems she adores; she dreams of receiving a sign from Dihya that one day, she, too, will have adventure, and travel beyond her isolated home.

But when adventure comes for Amani, it is not what she expects: she is kidnapped by the regime and taken in secret to the royal palace, where she discovers that she is nearly identical to the cruel half-Vathek Princess Maram. The princess is so hated by her conquered people that she requires a body double, someone to appear in public as Maram, ready to die in her place.

As Amani is forced into her new role, she can’t help but enjoy the palace’s beauty―and her time with the princess’ fiancé, Idris. But the glitter of the royal court belies a world of violence and fear. If Amani ever wishes to see her family again, she must play the princess to perfection…because one wrong move could lead to her death.

A Moroccan-inspired sci-fi/fantasy YA that tackles colonialism, rebellion, and identity by a Muslim author? Yes, please. View Post

Review—The Rohingya Crisis: A People Facing Extinction by Muhammad Abdul Bari

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A concise and informative history of the Rohingya, an evidence-based denunciation of Myanmar’s ethnic cleansing campaign, and an impassioned plea for recognition and human rights for the Rohingya. 

Before reading this book, I knew little more about the Rohingya than that something awful was happening to them and that it had to do with Myanmar, wherever that is. I should be ashamed of myself; I know.

Instead of relieving my shame, this book has increased it. I am ashamed of what some of humanity is capable of doing, and what the rest of humanity is content to allow to happen.

This 69-page book offers a concise and informative introduction to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya by the state of  Myanmar. Since August of last year, more than 10,000 Rohingya have been killed, and more than half a million people have fled across the border to Bangladesh. Even more disturbing than the scale of the crisis is the lack of awareness about it. View Post

Two Interfaith Books about Muslim-Jewish Friendships

Today I’m sharing two fantastic picture books about Muslim-Jewish relationships.
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A Moon for Moe and Mo is the story of two boys in New York City, one Jewish and one Muslim, who befriend each other at the grocery store as their mothers prepare for Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan. They discover just how much they have in common while sharing treats at the store. Later, each one thinks of the other as he gazes up at the moon and welcomes a holiday. A heart-warming story by Jane Breskin Zalben and gorgeous illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini (of Crescent Moons fame) make this a book that belongs on everyone’s shelf.

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Yaffa and Fatima Shalom, Salaam is the story of a Jewish and a Muslim woman who live and work side by side in the holy land. The story explores how their different faiths are similar, and how their commonalities—kindness and generosity—bring them together. It’s written by Fawzia Gilani-Williams, who is such a thoughtful and talented writer, and illustrated by Chiara Fedele.

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I highly recommend both of these beautiful books.

Let me know other interfaith children’s books you’ve found with Muslim characters.

A Moon for Moe and Mo Charlesbridge | Amazon

Yaffa and Fatima Shalom, Salaam Kar-Ben Publishing | Amazon

Book Review—A Treasury of Ghazali by Mustafa Abu Sway

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A Treasury of Ghazali is a beautiful collection of quotations by Imam al-Ghazali with commentary by Mustafa Abu Sway. The tiny, digestible chapters are each based on one quote of the Imam: the original Arabic, an English translation, and a commentary by the author. Meant to be read in small doses, the quotes cover spiritual topics like sincerity in intention, happiness, patience against sin, and detachment from the dunya (worldly life). View Post

Review—Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly

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I’m thrilled to review Meet Yasmin!, which as far as I know, is the first early reader series to feature a Muslim character! For anyone who doesn’t know, early readers are those thin half-page-sized books that children graduate to after picture books and typically read on their own. I’d like to shout a welcome to Yasmin from the rooftops, and then go spread copies of these wonderful books everywhere. View Post