Books about the Muslim Faith

Addasi, Maha. Time to Pray. Boyds Mills Press, 2010.
Yasmin visits her grandmother in the Middle East, hears the muezzin calling people to prayer and learns the spiritual customs of her Muslim faith before returning home with her own prayer clock to help her remember to pray five times a day. This picture book illustrated by Ned Gannon includes an Arabic translation by Nuha Albitar. 

Ali-Karamali, Sumbul. Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam. New York: Delacorte Press, 2012.
Recommended for readers 11 years old and up.

Bradbury, Jennifer. A Moment Comes. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2013.
“As the partition of India nears in 1947 bringing violence even to Jalandhar, Tariq, a Muslim, finds himself caught between his forbidden interest in Anupreet, a Sikh girl, and Margaret, a British girl whose affection for him might help with his dream of studying at Oxford.” – CIP.(Historical fiction; India; Muslims; Sikhs; Violence) 

Budhos, Marina. Ask Me No Questions. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2006.
Fourteen-year-old Nadira and her family move from Bangladesh to New York City. But their visas expire, the Twin Towers are bombed on September 11 and they all start to hide their identities. Will they ever be safe again? On ERAC recommended novel list for grade eight. (Bangladesh; Immigrants; Schools; New York City; September 11; Secrets; Muslims; Fear; Prejudices; Self-reliance; Teenagers; Culture conflict) 

“Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos has taught me to look at things from a very different perspective. The novel talks about a teenage girl whose family has come to America from Bangladesh as illegal aliens. They struggle to keep their residency a secret but after 9/11, everybody who is Muslim seems dangerous, like possible terrorists. Nadira, a teenage girl feels, very out of place at school, at home, everywhere she goes. When her Abba – father – gets arrested and detained, everything gets even worse. Nadira and her sister Aisha are told to go home and continue on with their lives, but of course that is not possible. After all the lies and secrets, Nadira finally has the courage to get up and find a way to get her father free and her family back to normal. This is a story of hope, courage and perseverance.” (Luisa in gr. 7)

Cunnane, Kelly & Hoda Hadadi. Deep in the Sahara. New York: Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013. 

Set in West Africa, this picture book tells the story of a young girl who wants to wear the veiled dress – a malafa – like her mother and older sister. It is recommended as a read-aloud for listeners up to 9 years old. It could also be useful for older students as an introduction to units on religion, customs, and world geography. Includes a glossary and additional information about Mauritania and Islam. 

Dicker, Katie & Zohal Azizi. I Belong to the Muslim Faith. New York: PowerKids Press, 2010.
Large colour photographs, a large font with well-spaced lines, a glossary, list related websites, and index combine to make this an interesting and informative book for readers and researchers 8 years old and up. Highly recommended. (Other books in the series focus on these faiths: Buddhist, Hindu, Jewish, Sikh.)

Gilani-Williams, Fawzia. Nabeel’s New Pants: An Eid Tale. Marshall Cavendish Children, 2007.
A shoemaker goes shopping for gifts for his mother, his wife and his daughter to wear to the mosque on Eid. He finally buys a new pair of pants for himself but no one has time to shorten them, so he does it himself only to be surprised when he discovers everyone else has also secretly shortened them. (Turkey; Muslims; Family life; Secrets; Humorous stories) 

Heiligman, Deborah. Celebrate Ramadan & Eid Al-Fitr. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic, 2006.
This well-designed 31-page book will be appreciated by readers of various ages. Simple large-font sentences and colourful photographs will appeal to readers as young as 6 years old. Medium-size font longer sentences provide information for readers 8 years old and up. In a smaller-sized font at the end of the book, additional information – including a recipe, bibliography of books and websites, glossary, and map – will be interesting for readers 11 years old and up. Highly recommended for expanding the general knowledge of readers of all ages.

Khan, Hena. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2012.
A beautifully designed rhyming picture book – illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini – for readers and listeners up to 9 years of age. Older art students may also appreciate the elements of Islamic art. Teachers may enjoy using the book as an introduction to a unit on Islam or as a pattern for writing about various topics. A glossary is included. Highly recommended.

Khan, Rukhsana. Wanting Mor. Toronto: Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press, 2009.J
“Jameela feels relatively secure, sustained by her Muslim faith and the love of her mother, Mor. But when Mor dies, Jameela’s father impulsively decides to start a new life in Kabul where Jameela ultimately becomes an orphan after being abandoned in a busy marketplace by her father and stepmother. With only the memory of her mother to sustain her, Jameela finds the strength to face those who abandoned her when fate brings them together again.” – NVPL. [Afghanistan; Courage; Homelessness; Orphans; Sex role] 

Katz, Karen. My First Ramadan. New York: H. Holt, 2007.
A respectfully informative and cheerfully illustrated picture book for readers – and listeners – up to 9 years of age. Older readers may also appreciate this easy-to-read introduction to the sacred holy month for Muslims. 

Muhammad, Ibtihaj. The Proudest Blue. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2019.
What symbolizes your identity? What shows people your most important beliefs? In this vibrantly illustrated picture book, a little girl celebrates the day that her older sister wears hijab for the very first time. Written by the first Muslim American woman in hijab to compete for the U.S. in the Olympic Games and illustrated by a Canadian who grew up in Egypt playing with his mother’s colourful scarves, this thoughtful story is highly recommended for readers of all ages and of all beliefs.

Paterson, Katherine. The Day of the Pelican. New York: Clarion Books, 2009.
In 1998 when the Kosovo hostilities escalate, the life of thirteen-year-old Meli, an ethnic Albanian, changes forever after her brother escapes his Serbian captors and the entire family flees from one refugee camp to another until they are able to immigrate to America. – CIP (Historical; War; Refugees; Homelessness; Immigrants; Courage; Muslims)

Robert, Na’íma B. Ramadan Moon. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s, 2009.
This informative picture book is recommended for its striking collaged illustrations by Shirin Adl. The rhyming text is not especially memorable but the pictures will inspire young artists. And teachers may want to use it as a way to show how information about real life can be found in fiction.

Ruelle, Karen Gray. The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews during the Holocaust.  Holiday House, 2010.
“An illustrated picture book that tells of how Muslims helped to hide escaped prisoners of war and Jews of all ages in the complex of the Grand Mosque of Paris during World War II.” – WAFMS. Highly recommended for competent readers 9-years-old and up.

Whitman, Sylvia. Under the Ramadan Moon. Morton Grove, Ill.: A. Whitman & Co., 2008.
The full-page coloured illustrations and the repetition in the text – “under the moon” – combine to create a comforting rhythm in this recommended picture book for children 4 to 8 years old. 

Yuksel, M.O. One Wish: Fatima al-Fihri and the World’s Oldest University. New York: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, 2022.

This is a true story about a little girl from Tunisia who grew up to “build a school where students, especially the poor and the refugees, could live and study for free.” Fatima loved learning. Even after she and her family had to flee their home due to war, she continued to study. After her father and her husband died, leaving her a wealthy woman, she decided to use her fortune to help her new community in Morocco. She designed and supervised the building of an educational institution of higher learning to which students came from around the world. This university has now been in continuous operation for over one thousand years! 

Brilliant illustrations by Miriam Quraishi help to tell this story, which is supplemented by additional information including a glossary, bibliography and timeline. Most highly recommended for all readers who like learning.   

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