When this book arrived I flipped through it and loved that it tied hijab colors to careers, when I asked my seven your old to read it to my three year old and I overheard snippets, I was impressed that positive characteristics associated with the professions were articulated and embodied by the main character to inspire young girls everywhere. When I finally sat down to read the book my self, I enjoyed the joy, diversity, and backmatter, but unfortunately felt like a page was missing at the end. Over 32 pages the book introduces a color as seen on someone the narrator knows hijab, and identifies the woman’s job and a couple of characteristics. The facing page highlights that when the girl wants to have strength or show kindness she too will wear that color hijab. The text on the first page and the last page is the same, “Hijab is the crown/I wear every day./It is worn many ways, and it comes in every color.” I absolutely love the premise of the book, but it seems that the conclusion should perhaps broaden that we can be anything and everything no matter the color we wear. The blurb on the back of the book actually uses language of wearing “yellow, ‘like’ my doctor’s hijab, brown ‘like’ my teacher’s hijab,” etc. that allows for a more interpretive and less literal view of I have to wear this color or that to be a leader or athlete or loving. I know I know, I’m probably overthinking it, but I’ve read the book so many times, and each time I just feel like the conclusion tying it together is missing and makes the book primarily a color book and thus preventing it from transcending into being more.
The book text is like a poem with the opening and conclusion reading the same. The patterned body of the book works very well in establishing the links between hijab, color, occupation, empowerment, characteristics and implementation. The pictures also allow the reader/listener to broaden their knowledge about various careers and see what they look like in action and what attributes they draw upon.
At times the wording gets a little loose with “give kindness” and “show wisdom” but the overall tone conveys the sentiment and allows for the stronger, “get results” and “be a leader” to balance out the flow of the book. The illustrations amplify the color being presented, but it is worth pointing out that the hijab’s are all patterned and could be a little confusing to little readers. Similarly, the yellow hijabs appear more orange and the purple more pink.
I love that the book is authored by a Somali woman and that the illustrations show diversity (skin color, mobility, body shape), but focus on strong black women inspiring the young protagonist. The backmatter hints that it is the author’s niece and also explains hijab, and hijab styles.
I purchased mine from Book Depository, but they are going out of business, you can also purchase it on Amazon, here.