Informative and genuine, the book offers much to learn about the settings and situations of hijab.

UNDER MY HIJAB

A window into the world of a Muslim-American girl and the diverse women in her family and community.

A young, unnamed female narrator observes the women in her lives in public situations where they wear hijab and other situations where they do not, clearly showing when Muslim women who wear hijab transition into situations and places where they do not wear hijab. Khan connects in words the personality of each woman in and out of hijab. When Grandma is at work baking, “her hijab is carefully folded, / like the crusts on my favorite pies,” while “at home in her kitchen, / Grandma fixes her hair in a bun.” When she’s in her shared studio, an aunt’s hijab “towers up high, / pinned with a handmade jewel,” but at home the narrator can appreciate how her hair “is streaked pink and purple.” Jaleel’s illustrations pair well with Khan’s text, depicting some of the various ways hijab is styled. Though specific ethnicities are not mentioned, the family is multiracial, with the grandmother and father appearing black, a light-skinned mother and other female relatives, and friends with various skin tones. Women are also varied in ages and body shape. An endnote provides further information about hijab, what the word means, when women choose to wear it, why they choose to wear it, and that some women, like the author of the book, choose not to wear it.

Informative and genuine, the book offers much to learn about the settings and situations of hijab. (Picture book. 4-10)

Pub Date: Jan. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-62014-792-4

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Lee & Low Books

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2018

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The dual focus on friendship and diversity makes this choice a winner.

OUR FAVORITE DAY OF THE YEAR

Musa shares Eid with his new kindergarten classroom and learns about other students’ favorite days of the year as he makes friends with children from different backgrounds.

At the beginning of the school year, teacher Ms. Gupta, who wears a bindi, tells the children the faces in this room will become their closest friends. Brown-skinned Musa can’t imagine it. But when the teacher says that everyone will share their favorite day of the year so they can all celebrate it together, Musa is elated. He shares Eid with his classmates. His mother comes in to help, wearing a hijab, and they serve the class foods from various cultures within Islam. “Everyone could see why Eid was Musa’s favorite.” When the other students share their favorite days, they are similarly received by the class: Mo shares Rosh Hashanah, with help from his family, two men wearing kippot who share his light skin and brown hair and a brown-skinned child with black hair; Moisés shares Christmas and Las Posadas; and Kevin shares Pi Day. At the end of the year, they have become good friends. This celebration of diversity and friendship includes lush descriptions of each holiday and can serve as an entry point for any one of them. Bell’s textured illustrations are festive and youthful, picturing a diverse, child-centered world. The endpapers are particularly intriguing, with quiltlike squares picturing various cultural symbols; further information on each of the four holidays appears in the backmatter.

The dual focus on friendship and diversity makes this choice a winner. (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: June 30, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-4814-8563-0

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: April 12, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2020

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Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque.

IN MY MOSQUE

Children welcome readers into different mosques to learn about varying activities and services that take place in them.

Though many different mosques and children are depicted, the voices call readers’ attention to the similarities among Muslim communities around the world. Yuksel highlights the community eating together; women, men, and children sharing the space and praying together; grandfathers thumbing their tasbihs; grandmothers reading the Quran; aunties giving hugs; children playing. The effect is to demonstrate that a mosque is more than just a building but rather a space where children and adults come together to pray, give, learn, and play. Joyful characters describe what happens in simple, poetic language: “In my mosque, the muezzin’s call to prayer echoes in the air. I stand shoulder to shoulder with my friends, linked like one long chain.” Aly’s bright illustrations pair well with Yuksel’s words, ending with a beautiful spread of children staring at readers, waving and extending their hands: “You are welcome in my mosque.” The variety of mosques included suggests that each has its own unique architecture, but repeating geometric patterns and shapes underscore that there are similarities too. The author’s note guides readers to her website for more information on the mosques depicted; they are not labeled, which is frustrating since the backmatter also includes a tantalizing list of famous mosques on every continent except Antarctica.

Both a celebration of and an introduction to the mosque. (glossary, sources) (Picture book. 4-8)

Pub Date: March 23, 2021

ISBN: 978-0-06-297870-7

Page Count: 40

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Jan. 13, 2021

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 2021

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