Yaseen’s Big Dream

Yaseen’s Big Dream is a cute picture book by Umm Juwayriyah describing the dreams of a young Black protagonist. At night, when he goes to sleep, he doesn’t just dream random dreams, but he dreams his wishes, hopes, and aspirations for the future.

He dreams that he is “a hero, a friend, a helper, a builder, the barber shop owner, and even the prayer leader at his masjid.”

One night, he dreams that he is the President of the United States for a day. As president, he feeds the homeless, tours schools to talk to kids, and plays (and wins) a game of celebrity basketball. And yes, of course Yaseen and his family pray the night prayers in the Oval Office.

This dream is the main plot of the book, and although the lack of a conflict left me feeling cheated out of a story, I like that this book shows a boy daring to dream to the furthest reaches of his imagination. He places himself in roles that are big and small but that all have one thing in common—service. He is an empowered and empowering character to share with our children, and I’d love to see more books (with actual plots) featuring his adventures in the future.

The writing is sweet and often lyrical. That made some redundancies, grammatical errors, and awkward phrasing extra annoying to me. I find that sort of thing unforgivable in a book that is meant to be read aloud over and over and that is meant for children who are learning to read. I also don’t want my children to learn that the Islamic products in our house are of a lower quality than mainstream secular products.

The illustrations, by Azra Momin, are soft, whimsical, and really lovely. They show Yaseen at work and asleep.

The message of this fun book is “dream big!”

Find it here: Goodreads | Djarabi Kitabs Publishing | Amazon.com

Thank you to Djarabi Kitabs Publishing for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Tale of a Tiny Droplet

When I first saw this cute book, I thought it was about the water cycle. It’s actually not. It is the story of a tiny droplet living in a cloud. It sees a beautiful kingdom below on the ground, and it wants to live there. When it’s finally big enough to fall from the sky, it joins with a grain of sand in the air before falling into the ocean. It’s then taken in by an oyster and becomes a pearl. So, in fact, by the end of the story, it does get to fulfill its dream of living in the kingdom. It’s found by the Prince, who places it in a beautiful headdress for his mother, the Queen. View Post

Under My Hijab

Under My Hijabby Hena Khan and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel, follows a young Muslim girl as she introduces readers to the powerhouse women in her life who wear a hijab.

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. View Post

Big Red Lollipop

Big Red Lollipop is a picture book by Rukhsana Khan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall with one of my favorite things—casual Muslim representation. 

When Rubina is invited to her first birthday party, her mother (who doesn’t have any experience with American birthday parties) insists that Rubina takes her little sister, Sana, along with her. She is hesitant, but she has no choice. Needless to say, the party doesn’t go well. The rest of the story is about how the experience of that party eventually draws the sisters together. View Post

Malala for the Whole Family

One child, one teacher, one book and one pen can change the world.
—Malala Yousafzai

Today I have books about Malala Yousafzai for the entire family. Malala is the Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner and champion for girls’ rights around the world who was shot by the Taliban in 2012 while on her way home from school. Her story is an empowering one that we can all benefit from, and it is one that we should be sharing with the young people in our lives, both boys and girls. Pictured above from left to right are her memoir for adults, for young adults, and for children, as well as a picture book. Detailed information about each appears below. Happy reading! View Post