In Gonzales’ first book for children, a father tells his Latin American indigenous, Muslim daughter to face the world’s questions with pride in her identity.
This “Father’s Letter to His Daughter” faces the question of identity head-on. The intimate text instructs the girl to remember Mayan pyramids as she walks “in the steel shadows” of cities and assures her that “there are questions we all ask / when we are learning what it means to be human.” The father then prepares her for the “questions this world will ask” without smiling: “What are you? / And / where are you from?” Father instructs daughter to say, “Yo soy Muslim. / Our prayers were here / before any borders were.” Stylized illustrations emphasize light and dark, warm and natural colors, highlighting the girl, with her orange, patterned dress and large eyes gazing out at readers or up at other characters in her world and the things her father shows her. The girl’s gestures and gaze show that she is absorbing all that is happening around her. A poetic celebration of heritage and faith, past and future, this book is unique for its blend of indigenous, Spanish-speaking cultural content with Muslim religious identity.
This book will be cherished by Muslim families seeking to boost their children’s confidence and intriguing for non-Muslim families seeking to learn. (Picture book. 3-9)