Under My Hijab (Hena Khan)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Under My Hijab, written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel, an awesome look at hijab and the women who wear it.

A young girl considers the women in her life who wear hijab – her grandmother, for instance, carefully folds her hijab to keep it out of the way while she works at a baker; at home, she wears her graying hair in a neat bun while they bake together. The girl loves the way her mother’s cheerful pink hijab contrasts her white doctor coat; at home, her long hair is braided while tending her garden. For each hijabi, the girl notes the various ways they style it to reflect their personalities – towering high with a homemade pin for her artist aunt, practical under a sun hat for her camp counselor, trendy and fashionable for her teen sister. She thinks on how she loves and admires each woman, and when she is old enough, she’ll choose to wear hijab as well – inspired by them, and as a reflection of the unique person she is under her hijab.

Awesome! A wonderful tale of hijabi pride for both Muslim and non-Muslim readers. The rhyming texts explores how the women underneath hijab are complex individual with different personalities, passions, and styles. For young Muslim readers, it’s a beautiful bit of representation and girl power; for non-Muslims, it can help to dispel many of the misconceptions about hijab (an afterward by the author further explores the details of hijab, along with when and why women choose to wear it). Jaleel’s illustrations are perfect, depicting women of all skintones and body types as warm, comforting presences, while capturing each woman’s personality and flair. The length is great, JJ loved it, and we absolutely recommend it. Baby Bookworm approved!

Night Of The Moon (Hena Khan)

Hello friends, and Ramadan Mubarak! Today marks the first day of the month of Ramadan, and since we wanted to learn more about this Muslim holy month, our book today was Night Of The Moon, written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Julie Paschkis. This story teaches the reader about Ramadan as seen through the eyes of a young girl named Yasmeen.

Yasmeen is seven years old, Pakistani-American, and Muslim. One night, her mother shows her the bare sliver of the new moon and explains that this begins Ramadan, a holy month of fasting and celebration for people of Islamic faith. As the new moon waxes and wanes, Yasmeen and her family attend celebrations with friends and relatives and services at their mosque. They practice kindness and community, and Yasmeen’s parents fast during the day to reflect on their blessings. Then, after the end of the month, the family and their community celebrate Eid, a festival filled with gifts, treats, and a brand new moon.

This was a fantastic book to introduce Ramadan and its customs to those just learning about it. Yasmeen and her family provide a wonderful narrative through the eyes of a child, relating the various celebrations, traditions, and beliefs in a concise and simple way. I especially loved how the passage of time was marked by the phases of the moon. The illustrations, heavily inspired by traditional Islamic art, are rich with color and design, and create a ton of visual interest for little readers. The length was fine, and JJ really liked this one, especially the art. This is a fantastic story about Ramadan, perfect for Muslim and non-Muslim readers alike to learn about and celebrate. Baby Bookworm approved!

Golden Domes And Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book Of Colors (Hena Khan)

Hello, friends! Today’s book is Golden Domes And Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book Of Colors, written by Hena Khan and illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, a gorgeous book that teaches children about the colors that fill Islam’s objects and traditions.

A young Muslim girl guides the reader through the bright, vibrant colors that she sees as she and her family practice their faith. Red is the color of the prayer rug she and her father kneel upon to pray, facing Mecca. Blue is the color of her mother’s hijab, the head covering she wears. Green is the color of her Quran, the holy book her grandmother reads to her, teaching her Allah’s lessons. Beautiful colors are present wherever her faith is reflected, and she loves her colorful Muslim world.

This was a very informative and interesting book! It acts as both a primer for basic colors, which were very easily identifiable for a baby bookworm like JJ, and introduces many elements and traditions surrounding Islam in a way that is approachable and easily identifiable for young readers of all levels of familiarity with the faith. Using the language of color, the purpose and appearance of mosques, kufis, and henna are all introduced, offering a unique window into the world of Islam for those unfamiliar, and giving young Muslim children an opportunity to identify with their culture and faith as they learn their colors. The art is, obviously, radiant and vivid, making each color the page’s theme and easy to spot for little ones. The length is just perfect, and JJ really enjoyed this. This is a fantastic way to introduce children to color through the world of Islam, or vice versa, and we liked it a lot. Baby Bookworm approved!