Blackout! by Sumayyah Hussein (and illustrated by Majd Massijeh) is an early chapter book that talks about the Syrian refugee crisis in a way kids 5–9 can understand. Heartwarming and well-written, this story also touches on empathy, privilege, gratitude, and community. View Post
Nanni’s Hijab, a picture book by Khadijah Abdul-Haqq and illustrated by Vitchapol Taerattanachai, is a heartwarming and empowering book about a strong female character who uses her intelligence and empathy to win over a bully with love.
Everyone loves Nanni’s colorful hijabs. Everyone except Leslie, the new girl at school, who tells Nanni she hates her “stupid he-jobs,” spills milk on her, and pulls her hijab off one day on the playground. View Post
The Green Bicycle is a middle grade novel based on the feature film Wadjda—the first Saudi Arabian produced film directed by a woman. The director, Haifaa Al Mansour, is the author of the book. I haven’t seen the movie, but I can say that sometimes when books are based on movies (instead of the other way around), they feel incomplete or are paced awkwardly. Not so here. This novel is really well-written, with short chapters that keep the plot moving. View Post
Our prayers literally saved us!
A Race to Prayer: Sulaiman’s Rewarding Day, by Aliya Vaughan, is an early chapter book for readers 7+. It has seven short chapters, and follows Sulaiman, who feels like every time he wants to do something fun, it’s either time to pray or it’s raining. When the rain keeps Sulaiman from going to play football, his dad offers to take him to the quad bike races. But things keep happening to get in the way. By the end of the book, Sulaiman is finally able to enjoy the races with his dad and grandpa, and he has learned a valuable lesson about the blessings of putting prayer first. View Post
Thank you to Kube Publishing for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Practising faith is like opening a door and realizing your life so far has been lived in a broom cupboard in the mansion of existence. Reality actually lies beyond and underneath the nuts and bolts, the brooms and cloths of the material world.
Finding Peace in the Holy Land is a memoir by Lauren Booth, who is probably best well-known as Tony Blair’s sister-in-law. Beginning with her hilarious upbringing, and moving through her life as an actress, a political activist, and then a journalist and humanitarian, it is ultimately the story of how she came to Islam.
Booth has a lovely sense of humor, and her writing is as spontaneous and vivacious as she herself is. Her sharp descriptions of the landscape in Palestine (“a building decorated in the local flavor; bullet holes”) and her narrative flair (“It was excellent advice. Advice I would completely ignore”) were a pleasure to read. View Post