Teaching our children about other races and religions is such an important task. In the wake of events around the world, such as the New Zealand Muslim terror attack, it can be difficult to find the words to explain it to our kids. But, one way we love to teach about different cultures is by adding new voices to our children's bookshelves.
We made a point of featuring books that show Islam in a positive, celebratory light. Now, more than ever, it's time to confront Islamophobia at home by celebrating, normalizing and integrating Muslim faith and culture into our bedtime stories. It was important to us that each of our book picks are written or published by a Muslim authors.
Here are our favorite books featuring Islam.
Hats of Faith
by Medeia Cohan, Illustrated by Sarah Walsh (Illustrator), Published by Hajera Memon
Best for ages 0-3
This board book features many hats of faith, not just Muslim. Important to note for us to note that the author is not Muslim, but the publisher, Hajera Memon, is... and we think she's the coolest.
Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes
By Hena Khan, Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
Best for ages 2-5
From octagonal fountains and crescent moons, this beautiful book helps families learn shapes and normalize Muslim culture in their household. While the illustrations are gorgeous, know that there isn't really much story or description of Islam. We love that Muslims are shown all over the world, and many women not actually covering their hair - which isn't uncommon.
By Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow, Illustrated by Ebony Glenn
Best for ages 4-8
There are a handful of stories about Muslim women wearing hijabs, veils, and khimars (yes, there are lots of different types and names), and this is our favorite by far. We love how our book consultant Ashia Ray (BooksforLittles.com) summarizes this book, "Countering the Islamaphobic nonsense that a khimar is a tool of oppression against women, Mommy's Khimar celebrates them as a symbol of joy, faith, warmth, and comfort. Wearing a khimar is choice, an honor, and a celebration."
Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter
By Mark Gonzales, Illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
Best for ages 4-8
This is a magical book that celebrates identity, specifically being Muslim and Latinx. This heartfelt ode from a father to his daughter tears us up every time.
We featured "Yo Soy Muslim" in our book club last year, and one parent emailed us complaining that their daughter couldn't relate to the book. Please know this is exactly what we're after: kiddos having books that represent all cultures on their bookshelves (not just their culture)!
Big Red Lollipop
By Rukhsana Khan, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Best for ages 4-8
Big Red Lollipop is a fast favorite in so many households. We love that this book isn't about being Muslim, but simply features Muslim sisters. This book is a gem. It is incredibly hard to find books that normalize diversity, rather than point it out as different. Little Feminist is working tirelessly to feature and help publish children's book that showcase difference as natural!
Yaffa and Fatima: Shalom, Salaam
By Fawzia Gilani-Williams, Illustrated by Chiara Fedele
Best for ages 4-9
Yaffa and Fatima have so many similarities, but come from different religions, Judaism and Islam. We see how they love and respect each other, sneaking food to each other during a food shortage. We love the muted color palette (different and stunning), and how our kids keep taking it off the shelf!
Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
By Reem Faruqi, Illustrated by Lea Lyon
Best for ages 5-8
The most highly awarded book our this list, "Lailah's Lunchbox" is based on the author's own experience when she immigrated to the US. We love how this story features kind, accepting teachers. It makes for a great starting point to discuss what it's like to be surrounded by people who don't understand your culture.
By Hena Khan
Best for ages 8-12
Amina, a Pakistani-American Muslim girl, navigates how to balance her culture and blending in at her middle school. Perusing online reviews, you'll see hundreds of families and kids (from all backgrounds) comment on how incredibly relatable Amina is. This book provides the perfect opening to talk about prejudice with your pre-teens, when Amina's mosque is vandalized.
We love that a love interest is absent from this book, rare.
We love that R.J. Palacio author of "Wonder" said "For inspiring empathy in young readers, you can't get better than this book."
Proud: Living My American Dream
By Ibtihaj Muhammad
Best for ages 10-13
At the 2016 Olympics, Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first American to compete and win a medal wearing a hijab, but there is so much more to her story! From her school hallways to her first job, Muhammad tells her story of perseverance and courage to speak up. Parents tell us their kiddos won't put this book down!
Originally posted on Little Feminist.
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