Muhiima’s Quest

 

muhiima

Muhiima’s family doesn’t usually celebrate birthdays, but when she wakes up one summer morning one year older and wondering if she looks different, her mother hands her a wrapped box and a map. She explains that Muhiima will go on a quest on this special day.

Muhiima sets off on her bike and visits her father’s bookstore, her grandmother’s house, her Quran teacher at the masjid, her aunt’s henna salon, and her uncle on the basketball court. At each stop, she receives another wrapped box and a piece of advice. “Don’t forget your roots.” “Walk in modesty.”

When she finally arrives back home, everyone she met on her quest in awaiting her in her decorated house. Her mother helps her open all of the little packages, taking a single pearl from each one that she threads onto a necklace for Muhiima to wear.

Muhiima gets to bask in the love and support of her family on her special day, and readers will benefit from the lesson that different families do things differently.

The illustrations are fun and whimsical; here are my favorites.

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Find Muhiima’s Quest here: Goodreads | Rahma Rodaah | Amazon.com


Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter.

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

“Putting Justice Into Practice: Khutbah on the George Floyd Murder and Police Brutality by Dr. Tahir Wyatt

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Treasures of Jannah

 

treasures

In this sweet and simple picture book by Yasmin Egala, brother and sister Adam and Hana visit Grandma, but instead of telling them a story, she tells them about a place called Jannah!

Adam wants to see Jannah on a map, but Grandma laughs and explains that it’s not even in this universe. She then offers them a vivid description of Jannah, with palaces and treasures, rivers and trees, and, best of all, no rules and the freedom to do whatever they like. Hana and Adam then brainstorm all of the wonderful things they are going to do in Jannah.

This concept picture book asks the question: “What would you like to do in Jannah?” Adam and Hana begin the conversation, and the illustrations (partially in Grandma’s garden and partially in Hana and Adam’s imagination) help readers begin to answer for themselves.

The book ends with Grandma sharing with Hana and Adam how they can get to Jannah: “love Allah and be good Muslims.”

Here are some of the truly delightful illustrations, which are by the talented Azra Momin.

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Find it here: Amazon.co.uk


Striving to Be an Antiracist

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

“Putting Justice Into Practice: Khutbah on the George Floyd Murder and Police Brutality by Dr. Tahir Wyatt

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Bashirah and the Amazing Bean Pie

Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter. See the link after the review for ways to get involved.


bashirah

Bashirah’s school is breaking for the Eid holiday, and when they return on Monday, they are all supposed to bring a dish from their culture for culture day. Bashirah is excited to bring her family’s bean pie.

Bashirah is thrilled by all of the preparations for Eid, including a special outfit for her and the fact that she’s finally old enough to help make the bean pie this year. After the Eid prayer, the house fills up with the smells of fried chicken, sweet potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and green beans as Bashirah and her Pop-Pop take their place in the kitchen to make the delicious pies.

The three generations of family enjoy their holiday, praying and eating together, and asking who made the delicious pie!

On Monday, Bashirah takes a pie to school for culture day, and her teacher invites them all to share in each other’s cultures while reminding them that Islam is an antiracist religion: “People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should recognize one another. In God’s eyes, the most honored of you are the ones most mindful of Him” (Qur’an 49:13).

Find this sweet story about culture, Eid, and community here:
Goodreads | Ameenah Muhammad-DigginsBookshop.org | Amazon.com


Striving to Be an Antiracist

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

“Putting Justice Into Practice: Khutbah on the George Floyd Murder and Police Brutality by Dr. Tahir Wyatt

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

The Proudest Blue

Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter. See the link after the review for ways to get involved.


the proudest blue

The Proudest Blue, written by Ibtihaj Muhammad and S. K. Ali, tells the story of Faizah’s thoughts and feelings as her older sister wears a hijab to school for the first time.

The day begins with Faizah excited—excited about school, about her light-up shoes, and about walking alongside her princess of a sister in her new blue hijab. When a friend asks about Asiya’s hijab, Faizah’s answer comes out in a whisper, and she starts to feel unsure, because “Asiya’s hijab isn’t a whisper. Asiya’s hijab is like the sky on a sunny day.” She is reassured when she asks Asiya if she’s excited about her hijab, and Asiya nods and smiles big. Faizah also takes comfort in her mother’s words: “The first day of wearing hijab is important. . . . It means being strong.” During art, she draws a picture of herself and Asiya in matching blue scarves. After the whisper, Faizah likewise deals with a laugh and a shout in the same way: by drawing on her sister’s calm strength and her mother’s words.

There is so much to love about this book. I love the way Faizah is proud of her sister. I love the way Asiyah owns her hijab and her faith and her right to be her. I love the way Faizah remembers her mother’s words while seeing Asiya’s actions, drawing strength from both of them.

The illustrations, by the talented Hatem Aly, are some of my favorite picture book illustrations ever. They are perfect: the way that Faizah and Asiya sometimes appear in front of a muted background, so that they stand out as the queens that they are; the way that unkind people appear as shadows, reflecting their unimportance; and the facial expressions that expand on the text by showing how Asiya’s friends support her.

From a craft point of view, The Proudest Hijab is brilliant. It adapts a topic about older kids for a picture book audience while showcasing the relationship between the two girls and, by extension, their mother, creating a web of female faith and strength. I can’t recommend it enough for all readers.

Find it here: Goodreads | Little, Brown | Bookshop.org | Amazon.com | Book Depository


Striving to Be an Antiracist

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

Children’s Books Featuring Black Characters
Black Books Matter: Children’s Books Celebrating Black Boys
Broadening the Story: 60 Picture Books Starring Black Mighty Girls

“Putting Justice Into Practice: Khutbah on the George Floyd Murder and Police Brutality by Dr. Tahir Wyatt

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/

Basirah the Basketballer Says Insha’Allah

Black lives matter. They have always mattered, and they will always matter. See the link after the review for ways to get involved.


basirah

Basirah’s favorite thing to do is to play basketball, and when she finds out that Coach Halima will be choosing a team captain, Basirah decides that that team captain will be her. When Basirah makes this announcement to her dad, he reminds her that she should say insha’Allah. The next day, she tries insha’Allah out and gets a perfect grade, a coveted dessert, and a shot from the free throw line! But when her friend Kafayat is chosen as team captain instead of her, Basirah wonders if maybe she misunderstood how insha’Allah works.

After school, Hafsah curls up on the couch next to her dad (who is still wearing scrubs from work), and he explains. “Insha’Allah isn’t a magic word that makes your wishes automatically come true. . . . But, it is a word that reminds us to work as hard as we can, then trust God to give us whatever is best for us.”

Sometimes, conversations about tawakkul can become divorced from everyday life. But the dad’s explanation of insha’Allah marries a phrase Muslims use all the time with core beliefs about God and faith.

I love the fact that Basirah’s next step is to reflect on herself—she realizes that while Kafayat is always helping her teammates, she herself is usually hogging the ball. She immediately puts her dad’s lesson into action—making a cake to show Kafayat she appreciates her and changing her actions on the court to reflect the kind of person she wants to be.

Basirah begins every morning with a beautiful affirmation and dua: “I will be a better friend and teammate today, Insha’Allah.” And she cheekily adds, “And the team captain next year, Insha’Allah, Insha’Allah, Insha’Allah!”

This book is everything I want to see from the world of Muslim publishing—well-written stories about diverse characters living relatable lives and learning about the world and their faith.

Find it here: Goodreads | Ruqaya’s Bookshelf


Striving to Be an Antiracist

The Prophet ﷺ said that when we see an evil, we should change it with our hands, and if we can’t, we should change it with our tongues. In that spirit, get to work. Go to a protest. Contact your elected officials. Donate. Sign a petition. Speak up in your community. Call out friends and family if they say something racist. Interrogate your bookshelves. Make dua. And, most importantly, if you’re not Black, educate yourself and your children.

“Your Black Muslim Friends Are Not Okay, America’s Knee Is On Their Neck” by Nikia Bilal on MuslimMatters

Ways to help from BLM: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/