• 52 Poems for 52 Weeks: A Lunar Year by Abdullah Mansoor
    This isn’t the typical book I would review, but after spending some time in a middle school language arts classroom teaching this school year, I thought I should at least acknowledge the value a book like this can have in a classroom or homeschool curriculum, and that it shouldn’t be completely overlooked and dismissed.  I […]
  • A Bit of Earth by Karuna Riazi
    This Secret Garden retelling mixes the heart of the original with a dash of modernity, the flavor of desi culture, and the lyricism of a good writer.  Over 368 pages the slow plot but rich imagery will draw readers in, hold their attention, and leave them thinking about the characters they have been fortunate to […]
  • A Galaxy of Sea Stars by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo
    This middle grade, 330 page book is an easy read that touches on concepts of change within friendships and families with the back drop of life in a coastal town, finding courage, and Islamaphobia. While early middle school readers might find the book a bit predictable and cliche’, the characters, lessons, and fluid storytelling would […]
  • A Long Pitch Home by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
    The correlation between baseball and cricket provides the foundation for detailing the relationship of  Bilal’s first year in America after having to leave Pakistan in a hurry: the same, but different.  This 248 page book written on an AR 4.6 pivots around sports, but has a lot of heart as themes of family, friendship, and […]
  • A Party in Ramadan By Asma Mobin-Uddin Illustrated by Laura Jacobsen
    This is a great book that works on a variety of levels.  Leena is fasting the whole day for the first time, but is also invited to a friends party.  Her mom gives her the choice to fast or not as it is not yet mandatory at her age, and she decides to fast AND […]
  • A Place at the Table by Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan
    This fabulously fresh and honest book told in alternating OWN voices shows how two seemingly different 6th grade girls discover how much they have in common as they learn about themselves and their families along the way.  Sarah is a Muslim Pakistani-American, and Elizabeth is Jewish and has an English immigrant mom, the two come […]
  • A Pocketful of Stars by Aisha Bushby
    This middle grades magic realism novel draws you in and pulls on your heartstrings pausing only to offer pointed commentary on friendship, self-awareness, and self acceptance.  Oh sure there were parts that seemed a bit repetitive and parts I had to read again because the continuity was just off enough to have me confused, but […]
  • A Tale from Turkey The Hungry Coat by Demi
    It really bothered me that I didn’t love the version I read of  The Parrot and the Turkey about Nasreddin Hodja, especially after finding out how entwined he is in Turkish culture, and reading some of his tales online.  So, when I found that Demi had also rewritten and illustrated a tale from his collection I […]
  • A Tale of Highly Unusual Magic by Lisa Papademetriou
    For a book about magic, featuring a girl who admittedly knows very little about Islam, a surprising number of tidbits sneak through and work to introduce Islam and Pakistani culture to those unfamiliar, while similarly exciting Muslims readers who can see a major climax point a mile away and get to feel “in” on the […]
  • A Thousand Questions by Saadia Faruqi
    This 320 page middle grade novel with alternating point of view chapters engulfs you like a warm genuine hug. It does not have a clear climax, it is predictable, and some characters and cultural touch points could have used more detail, but honestly, I couldn’t put it down. As a half American kid who spent […]
  • Accused: My Story of Injustice (I, Witness Series Book 1) by Adama Bah
    This is the first book in a new middle grades nonfiction series and is Adama Bah telling her own story about being detained as a 16 year old and falsely accused of being a suicide bomber.  A story that sounds like a movie plot is painfully real and terrifying and hearing it in her own […]
  • Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Missing Diamonds by Annabelle Sami illustrated by Daniela Sosa
    This engaging and fun early middle grades detective story set in England, features a female protagonist of Pakistani origin who stumbles on a crime at her cousins mehndi party.  Over 231 pages with illustrations and flourishes, Agent Zaiba along with her younger half brother Ali and best friend Poppy will have to solve a case, […]
  • Ahmed Aziz’s Epic Year by Nina Hamza
    There is such a shortage of male Muslim protagonist middle grades books that I have been waiting quite impatiently to get my hands on this one, and alhumdulillah, it didn’t disappoint.  I’m not sure if it qualifies as OWN voice, being it has a female author, but the authenticity in the little religious and cultural […]
  • Alia’s Mission: Saving the Books of Iraq by Mark Alan Stamaty
    Based on the true story of Alia Muhammed Baker, the Basra librarian who saved 30,000 books in 2003 from the destruction during the Iraq War, this 32 page graphic novel, is an AR 3.9 and while it isn’t a chapter book and isn’t just a picture book, it works well for 2nd through 4th grade […]
  • Allies by Alan Gratz
    This is the second Alan Gratz multi-perspective historical fiction novel I’m reviewing for its inclusion of a Muslim character.  While in Refugee it seemed a natural choice to include a Muslim family, I was completely shocked that he would feature one in a WWII D-Day novel.  With numerous storylines spread over 322 pages the book […]
  • Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
    This book was suggested to me and I was thrilled to find it at the public library so quickly after its May 8, 2018 release date.  I love that it is an AR 4.2 and 226 pages about a girl standing up for her self, determined to be educated, and facing whatever society, and culture, […]
  • Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World: Extraordinary Stories of Incredible People by Burhana Islam illustrated by Reya Ahmed, Deema Alawa, Nabi H. Ali, Saffa Khan, Aaliya Jaleel and Aghnia Mardiyah
    The 30 stories presented over 197 pages are inspiring, and this compilation so desperately overdue. The book is not chronological it is completely random, and at first I was confused, but as I made my way through the book, I actually grew to love not knowing who I would be reading about next.  Yes, there […]
  • Amina’s Song by Hena Khan
    This middle grades companion book to Amina’s Voice, reads in much of the same way as a lot of Hena Khan books in that I feel she is presenting Pakistani Muslims in America to non Pakistani non Muslims in the west.  In the first quarter or so of this 288 page book that takes place […]
  • Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
    This book really marked a shift in Islamic fiction for me and the genre.  First of all I was waiting for the book to come out.  I didn’t stumble upon it or hear about it from someone else.  I knew when it was going to be released, and I knew I wanted to read it. […]
  • Amira & Hamza: The War to Save the Worlds by Samira Ahmed
    Make sure you are sitting in a comfy spot when you crack open this middle grades fantasy adventure, because it hits the ground running from the very beginning and doesn’t let up over 368 pages.  The like-able and relatable brother sister duo snarkily banter and bicker about everything from cultural Indian (Desi) folklore, religious stories, […]
  • An Andalus Adventure by S.N. Jalali
    I truly am glad I read this book. I love historical fiction, visiting Spain is on my bucket list, this book has a map, details about what is historical what is fiction, has Islam woven in to the heart and soul of the story and characters, and yet it was a hard read.  The first […]
  • An Ayesha Dean Novelette: The High School Heist by Melati Lum
    If you are a long time fan of Ayesha Dean and you have been waiting for some children in your life to grow up just a little, so you can share the strong Muslim detective books with them, you are in for treat.  This book is a short novelette for middle grade readers!  It isn’t […]
  • Ayesha Dean- The Lisbon Lawbreaker by Melati Lum
    In this third Ayesha Dean book, that can be read as a stand alone, the Australian teen sleuth finds herself on the other side of the law in the beautiful city of Lisbon in Portugal.  Over 333 pages, she must understand what she is being accused of and figure out how to clear her name, […]
  • Ayesha Dean: The Istanbul Intrigue by Melati Lum
    I’ve tried numerous times to get my preteen daughter to read a Nancy Drew book with little success, yet she devoured this mystery and is eagerly waiting for more.  The protagonist is relevant, resourceful, fun, and a practicing Muslimah too.  At 240 pages, the spacing and large font make the book easily accessible, and tempting […]
  • Ayesha Dean: The Seville Secret by Melati Lum
    This is the second middle grade mystery story for globe trotting sleuth, Ayesha Dean, and much like her first adventure in Istanbul, this Spanish setting is infused with rich history, delicious food, relatable characters and quick paced action.   SYNOPSIS: Once again Ayesha and her two friends Jess and Sara are tagging along on a business […]
  • Azad’s Camel by Erika Pal
    This beautifully illustrated picture book takes the reader in to the world of camel racing, children jockeys, mistreatment by adults, children being sold by their families and running away, all in a span of 40 pages and on an AR 3.5 level.  Yeah, its a lot for a kid’s book, but it has a happy […]
  • Baddawi by Leila Abdelrazaq
    This 8.5 x 8.5 middle school graphic novel biography tells a powerful story of a young boy coming of age and striving to find his place in the chaos of the Nakba and its aftermath.  Over 128 pages the reader will learn and be outraged about the displacement and genocide of so many Palestinians as […]
  • Barakah Beats by Maleeha Siddiqui
    I have been waiting for this book for a really long time: a girl leaves an Islamic school for a public middle school and is not just unapologetic, but proud of who she is and of her religion, all while navigating such a huge life change and the day-to-day stresses of school, family, friends, and […]
  • Be Sure to Pray, Zain! By Humera Malik illustrated by Gonmuki
    A very relatable 31 page early elementary chapter book about not only establishing salat, but doing it for the right reasons.  The book is not preachy or reprimanding, and even with a moral purpose, Zain manages to connect with readers and be funny and likable along the way.  Told from the view of the young […]
  • Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile
    This 310 page, AR 5.4 biography reads like a dream being remembered and flowing with newly awakened images presented in a lyrical way. The changes in point of view and writing style keep the book bouncing like a boxing match, and flesh out the early life of Muhammad Ali for middle grade readers.  Only at […]
  • Better Than a Thousand Months: An American Muslim Family Celebration by Hassaun Ali Jones-Bey
    To be honest, I didn’t get the book.  I mean I understand that it was derived from stories the author told his children, and I’m guessing it was written to show similarities between Muslims and Christians, but I don’t understand how the 168 pages with lots of photographs and text from the Qur’an got published […]
  • Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renee Watson
    This 248 middle grades (AR 4.9) fictionalized biography of Betty Sanders, later to be Betty X and then Betty Shabazz, is the early years of her life in Detroit during the 1940s and how she understood her place in her family, and in the community.  Written by her daughter, the book hops around to major […]
  • Bhai for Now by Maleeha Siddiqui
    We tend to love people and books that do things first, for good reason, they raise the bar, set the standard, and pave the way for all those that come after.  And no, this is not the first middle grade traditionally published book to have Muslim characters having a completely non-Islamic-identity-centered plot, BUT it might […]
  • Blackout! by Sumayyah Hussein illustrated by Majd Massijeh
    Presenting the stories of refugees to young children often involves a balancing act of fact, emotion, and restraint, all while finding the common ground to create empathy in the reader.  Increasingly on bookshelves are successful picture books that use illustrations to build bridges of understanding and bright colors to convey hope.  For older children there […]
  • Boy, Everywhere by A.M. Dassu
    In a very crowded field of refugee themed books, this 400 page middle grades/early middle school novel sets itself apart by really focussing on the quality of life enjoyed in Syria compared to the life of a refugee on the move and in getting reestablished as an immigrant.  Where other books allude to how things […]
  • Brave by Svetlana Chmakova
    Often these days, minority groups are feeling more and more marginalized in a blaring world that is increasingly divisive and polarized.  So to see a book in my child’s Scholastic Magazine with a muhajaba on the cover, and not a main character, in a book about bullying, where she isn’t the instigator or recipient, made […]
  • Brave with Beauty: A Story of Afghanistan by Maxine Rose Schur illustrated by Patricia Grush, Robin Dewitt, and Golsa Yaghoobi
    This 44 page fictionalized retelling of Queen Goharshad, a 15th century monarch of the Timurid dynasty in Afghanistan should really be a larger book than 8 x 8 to appreciate the artwork that is detailed and stunning.  The story of Goharshad, wife of Emperor Shah Rukh, and her influence on art, music, culture, higher education, […]
  • Burning Boats by Zaynab Dawood
    This book came highly recommended from a friend that read it aloud to her Kindergartener and I ordered a class set based on her raving review.  After trying to get into the book on three separate occasions I concluded that yet again I should have waited and read the book myself before ordering it.  So I handed […]
  • Cinderella: An Islamic Tale by Fawzia Gilani illustrated by Shireen Adams
    I’ve seen this book countless times online and honestly have never given it a second glance.  I mean Cinderella is a classic fairytale and I have a few different versions from around the world, but an Islamic one? It seemed like it would be awkward or overly preachy and forced.  I should have given Fawzia […]
  • City of the Plague Gods (Rick Riordan Presents) by Sarwat Chadda
    I was excited to hear that another Rick Riordan/ Rick Riordan Presents books featured a Muslim character and was anxious to see how the multi god genre would account for Islamic tenants.  But I was completely giddy (that’s putting it mildly), when I found out that Sarwat Chadda is aka Joshua Khan, author of the […]
  • Connecting with Allah: A Treasury of Poems by Mona Zac illustrated by Neamah Aslam
    Similar to Call Me By My Name, this book stands out in highlighting the Names of Allah swt.  In this collection it is the descriptive poetry, warm illustrations, urge to reflect and act, and space to think through and write up your own du’as that make this book so versatile.  I can see a middle […]
  • Daring Dreamers Club: Piper Cooks Up a Plan by Erin Sodenburg illustrated by Anoosha Syed
    This is book two in the series, I couldn’t get the first book from the library, and I wasn’t willing to wait for the one that focuses on Muslim character, Zahra’s story to be published, it could be a few years.  At 224 pages this middle grades book is fairly formulaic with five diverse girls […]
  • Diana and the Island of No Return by Aisha Saeed
    This Wonder Woman story of Princess Diana as a young girl is not noteworthy because of its groundbreaking storytelling, but more for the fact that the series and story is by a Pakistani-American Muslim author.  I am not sure how authors are assigned or chosen to  write these reimagined character series, but I think it […]
  • Digging Deep by Jake Maddox text by Wendy L. Brandes illustrated by Katie Wood
    It is great to see a beautiful hijabi on the front of a sports book, written by a non Muslim, published by a major publisher, and having the story have nothing to do with the cloth on her head, but rather the skills on the court.  Teaching lessons about teamwork and self-worth, there is a […]
  • Eid al-Fitr: Festivals Around the World by Grace Jones
    NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! Seriously, astagfiraAllah! This 24 page middle grades non fiction book about Islam and Eid published in 2018 with smart-board connections and QR scan media enhancements on its surface would seem to be a great classroom all-in-one to learn about the basics of celebrations, Islam, Ramadan, and Eid.  BUT, NO! The […]
  • Escape From Aleppo by N.H. Senzai
    N.H. Senzai’s newest book (published in January 2018), gives a face and a voice to the grave situation in Syria.  Like Senzai’s other books, she uses the rich culture and history of a country to inform the reader, and a compelling front story to keep middle school readers entertained.  This 336 page book is not […]
  • Escape from Syria by Samya Kullab, Jackie Roche, and Mike Freiheit
    I have read a fair amount of fictionalized accounts of the war in Syria, the journey of refugees, and their resettling in various countries, but this was the first graphic novel on the subject that I have seen, and I was excited to wait my turn behind my kids to read it.  My 7th and […]
  • Extra Credit by Andrew Clements
    Having seen this book a million times, I never paid close enough attention to realize that the boy on the cover is an Afghani boy and that half of the story is told from an American girl’s perspective and half from young Sadeed.  My trusted librarian friend advised that the book is best taught through […]
  • Fight Back by A.M. Dassu
    At 384 pages, this middle grades book takes on hijab, terrorism, Islamophobia, finding your voice, and fighting back.  At times the book was insightful and smoothly written, at other times the voice seemed childish and the writing directionless.  The inconsistencies don’t ultimately make the book good or bad for me, but rather very forgettable.  I […]
  • Float Like A Butterfly by Ntozake Shange illustrated by Edel Rodriguez
    This 40 page biography beautifully presents major events of the famous boxer’s life without going in to much explanation. While it is an AR 4.7, it is still a picture book, and might work better for younger kids with some conversation and context, than for middle grade readers looking for anything in-depth about the beloved […]
  • Flying Over Water by Shannon Hitchcock and N.H. Senzai
    This middle grades, upper elementary book is a character driven contemporary story of two friends with their own fears coming together: one a native of Tampa, the other one a refugee from Syria arriving in the US on the day Trump’s ‘Muslim Ban’ goes in to effect. In 272 pages of alternating narratives, two 12 […]
  • Freestyle: A Graphic Novel by Gale Galligan
    I one hundred percent understand that Muslims are not a monolith, but, I’m truly tempted to reach out to the author/illustrator of this upcoming 272 page middle grade graphic novel and ask her why she chose to have the female instigator in this coming of age story- that focuses on a dance crew, said girl […]
  • Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi
    I put off reading this book (I read the companion, Whichwood, first) because I had heard that the audio book was great and I wanted to listen to it with my kids.  Read by Bronson Pinchot, Cousin Balki from Perfect Strangers, the audio book takes 8 hours to cover the 401 page book, and it is […]
  • Girls Who Code by Stacia Deutsch and Michelle Schusterman
    I sadly think that it is safe to say that whenever you see a book that features a cast of characters meant to include multiple minority groups, certain representation is going to read more generic and formulaic than others.  Translation: just because you see a hijabi on the cover, do not rush out to obtain, […]
  • Hamra and the Jungle of Memories by Hanna Alkaf
    This 400 page middle grade retelling of Little Red Riding Hood bursts with Malaysian culture, magic, action, and adventure.  The main character and her family are Muslim and hijab, duas, zikr, halal, Qur’an and salat are included throughout.  The mix of legends and characters from Malaysian culture in building the fae world is not contrasted […]
  • Heroes Like Us: Two Stories by Onjali Q. Raúf
    So this book is a little unique in that it is two stories, and The Great Food Bank Heist, one of the stories, has already been published, and the other story is a bit of an epilogue to The Boy at the Back of the Class.  So, I’m just going to review the first story […]
  • Hold Them Close: A Love Letter to Black Children by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow illustrated by Patrick Dougher with photography by Jamel Shabazz
    The power, the lyricism, the images, the layers- this book is not just for children, it is for everyone.  I have spent time with this book and it cannot be rushed, it needs to be felt and explored and reflected upon to feel the emotion that seeps from each and every page.  The book is […]
  • Hope on the Horizon: A Children’s Handbook on Empathy, Kindness, & Making a Better World by Onjali Q. Rauf illustrated by Isobel Lundie
    This delightful 288 page handbook pulled me in, inspired me, enlightened me, and allowed me to reminisce about incredible fictional characters from iconic books, tv shows, and movies.  Concepts such as kindness, empathy, friendship, deflecting negativity, seeing beyond labels, and asking for help, are framed around the fictional character’s strengths to introduce famous real life […]
  • Horse Diaries #6: Yatimah by Catherine Hapka illustrated by Ruth Sanderson
    I love that a reader talked to her mom about this book, and then they brought it to my attention. Published in 2011 it is book six in a popular middle grade series told from the horse’s perspective where each book features a different culture from around the world and is set in different time […]
  • How to Get Hijab Ready: A Guide for Muslim Girls Ages 8 to 11 by Aisha Elwan & Megan Wyatt illustrated by Sarah Hafeez
    Yes I know it isn’t fiction, but How to Get Hijab Ready is such a fabulous and much needed book that any positive attention I can direct toward it, I feel is effort well spent, Alhumdulillah.  The book is obviously meant for 8 to 11 year old girls contemplating hijab.  The beauty of this how-to […]
  • Huda and Me by H. Hayek
    At 194 pages, this book just became required reading for all my children save the two year old.  Meant for middle graders, I absolutely loved this book.  Sure literary siblings often run away and have adventures, think Claudia and Jamie Kincaid from Mixed Up Files, or the sisters in Ticket to India, but this Australian […]
  • Invincible Abdullah: The Car Theft Kidnapping by Haji Uthman Hutchinson
     I don’t usually post a review of the second book in a series so close to the original, but I wanted to read this one and see if it would be a better fit for Book Club being it takes place in England.  Nothing against  Invincible Abdullah and the Deadly Mountain Revenge, but we’ve done […]
  • Invincible Abdullah: The Deadly Mountain Revenge by Haji Uthman Hutchinson
    I’m pretty sure I’ve seen and handled this book hundreds of times in my involvement in four Islamic Schools, as a teacher, a librarian, and host of book fairs.  So, it is a little embarrassing to admit that this is the first time I actually cracked open the cover and read the book.  Written in […]
  • Iqbal and His Ingenious Idea: How a Science Project Helps One Family and the Planet by Elizabeth Suneby and Rebecca Green
    It is a bit odd that this story is fiction, when it reads so much like a piece of nonfiction.  It is a picture book, but has an AR level of 4th grade 4th month.  So, while the story is great and highlights a country and culture, Bangladesh, not often seen, I don’t know that […]
  • Islamaphobia deal with it in the name of peace by Safia Saleh illustrated by Hana Shafi
    This nonfiction book has given me pause.  The information, the approach, the presentation, the importance, is all really well done, I just can’t really grasp how to use the book.  It is broken up in to four sections:  Islamophobia 101, The Believer, The Intolerant, and The Bystander. In each sections it has scenarios, comic strips, […]
  • Islamic History for Kids: Story of Badr by Qasim Riaz
    This fictional story of a non-fiction-historical event over 37 large, 12×12, pages really brings the battle of Badr to life for readers ages seven and up.  The book is engaging and keeps chidden focused, excited, and clear as to what is unfolding, why the battle was important for Muslims, and why it still has lessons […]
  • It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
    Islamaphobia is rampant in today’s America, but it isn’t the first time that a minority group has had to face extreme persecution.  Often us Muslims need to look around and be reminded: Blacks are still targeted, Japanese once were interned, Italians, Irish, Hispanics, really every minority group has, and continues to struggle to be accepted […]
  • Jannah Jewels by Umm Nura illustrated by Nayzak Al-Hilali
    Strong muslim girls  (check) Historical fiction (check) Elementary level chapter book (check) Beautifully illustrated (check) Action, adventure, fun (check, check, check) Really what more can you want from a book, or better yet a series of books? The premise of Jannah Jewels is four Muslim girls each with specific skills that travel back in time […]
  • Khadijah: Mother of History’s Greatest Nation by Fatima Barkatulla
    I depart from the Islamic Fiction that I enthusiastically seek out and read, to share and review a work of non-fiction that swept me off my feet.  Perfect for children eight and up, and particularly ideal for girls, this book is absolutely physically beautiful and the content is as well.  This 176 page book flows […]
  • Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi illustrated by Lea Lyon
    Another standout in a crowded field of Ramadan picture books, mashaAllah, Lailah’s Lunchbox works well even outside of Ramadan for Muslim and Muslim children alike.  In 32 pages, the reader gets to know Lailah and understand how hard it has been for her to move to America from Abu Dhabi, make new friends, how nerovus she […]
  • Lala Comics: The Hilarious encounters of a Muslim Woman Learning Her Religion by Umm Sulayman
    A mix of information and entertainment, this 124 page comic book is divided into thematic sections which further break down in to mini-episodes or comic strips that feature a situation, an Islamic advice often based on a Hadeeth or Quranic ayat that is noted, and a misinterpretation taken to a comical extreme. The book is […]
  • Leila and the Sands of Time by Shirin Shamsi
    This 127 page book has a lot of potential, but ultimately didn’t win me over.  It is one of those that needs a good editor to encourage the author to flesh out the characters, take advantage of a potentially cathartic resolution, and fill the gaping holes in the story.  Meant for ages 8-12 the tiny […]
  • Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties by Humza Arshad & Henry White illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff
    It’s been a while since I’ve read such an over the top silly book that has a lot of heart.  It is 352 pages that remind me of the the My Teacher is an Alien book series of my youth smashed up with the Weirder School/Diary of a Wimpy Kid series of today.  Meant for […]
  • Llama Out Loud by Annabelle Sami illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan
    This 245 page middle grade doodle filled novel features a Pakistani-British protagonist as she endures life with a family that yells, brothers that prank, aunts that meddle, and now a magical talking obnoxious stuffed llama.  Yasmin Shah stopped speaking years ago, and a 10th birthday wish has brought about Levi, a llama who uses highly […]
  • Lost and Found Cat: The True Story of Kunkush’s Incredible Journey by Doug Kuntz and Amy Shrodes illustrated by Sue Cornelison
    Often children’s stories of refugees fleeing war are hopeful in a forced way that seems to want to protect them from the reality of what is going on in the world.  As adults we often cling to the ones with happy endings for our children and for ourselves, because the tragic ones are too numerous and overwhelming […]
  • Love by Matt de la Pena illustrated by Loren Long
    This 40-page-book may have a simple title, but most of us know, there is nothing simple about love, and this book shows love in many forms from a child’s perspective as they grow.  Sometimes picture books are basic and inspired to teach, or simply entertain.  Sometimes when picture books try to do more, the audience […]
  • Lowriders to the Rescue by Cathy Camper illustrated by Raúl Gonzalez III
    This is my first Lowriders book, so admittedly there was a lot going on that I really don’t feel confident that I understood, but even with that, it was a sweet story of first love (crush), Arab and Latinx joy, humor, social activism, environmentalism, gentrification, and fun.  I don’t know that the other books in […]
  • Lulu and the Very Big Meanies by Mac McGooshie illustrated by Alexis Hogwood
    I don’t know what is more frustrating: quality books that are poorly packaged (binding, illustrations, font, spacing, etc.) or beautiful books that miss the mark in storytelling and basic writing skills.  Both are equally annoying, and while yes, a good story should be the basis, this book is really well written that the presentation of […]
  • Luv Ya Bunches by Lauren Miracle
    A book about 5th grade friendships told from the perspective of four different girls in a variety of styles: instant messages, chatroom conversations, video scripts, and traditional text.  The author seems to have a checklist of diverse characters and afflictions that all must make an appearance in the 335 page story.  It is written on […]
  • Magid Fasts for Ramadan by Mary Matthews illustrated by E. B. Lewis
    The intent of this 48 page chapter book is good, however, a few things rubbed me the wrong way about how Ramadan and Islam are presented. Nearly eight-year-old Magid wants to fast on the first day of Ramadan, but everyone says he is much to young.  He decides to deceive everyone and fast anyway.  I’m […]
  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
    Yes, that is a Rick Riordan book cover you see.  Yes, it is about Norse mythology.  Yes, the whole book is about fake gods and fictional demigods.  Yes, you are on the correct blog.  Brace yourself, if you haven’t heard about Magnus Chase, son of the god Frey, whose series is now on book three, it […]
  • Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai illustrated by Kerascoet
    I’m going to try my best to review a nonfiction autobiographical book and focus on the story, not on the author because yikes, Pakistanis have strong opinions about Malala, and I have no desire to get pulled in to an argument.  I’m half Pakistani, I know the position of both sides. I have read both […]
  • Mansa Musa: The Lion of Mali by Kephra Burns illustrated by Leo & Dianne Dillon
    This beautiful work of historical fiction/folklore is both moving and visually breathtaking.  The 56 page book presents as a picture book, but with an AR 6.4 and the amount of text, it reads like a chapter book.  Thus, I’m going to review it as a chapter book, but keep in mind that it is hard […]
  • Marvel Avengers Assembly: Orientation by Preeti Chhibber illustrated by James Lancett
    This is the first book in a new middle grade Marvel series told from Kamala Khan’s perspective. Part graphic novel, part screen shots, emails, diaries, fan fiction and doodles, the book features a diverse group of young marvel characters and even some quotes from the Quran. At 175 pages the book has action, humor and […]
  • Miss Never Pleased by Ayesha Marfani illustrated by Aisha Aamir
    I’ve been accused of being brutal in my reviews.  And while I don’t enjoy being mean, I do take some pride in the attribute, as I am paying for these books myself (unless I get them at the library) and it takes time out of my day to write these reviews.  I don’t get paid, […]
  • More to the Story by Hena Khan
    For a book written by an accomplished author for 3rd to 7th graders focusing on a Muslim family, I was surprised at how despite wanting to absolutely love this book, I only kind of liked it.  For the first 100 of 271 pages, I really kept hoping there was going to be more to the story.  Luckily […]
  • Ms. Marvel Stretched Thin by Nadia Shammas illustrated by Nabi H. Ali
    This tween graphic novel of our favorite Muslim superhero is authored and illustrated by a new Muslim duo that share an OWN voice story over 110 pages about balancing life and priorities and making time for family.  There is a little bit of action, but the majority of the plot, really is balancing it all, […]
  • Muhammad Najem, War Reporter: How One Boy Put the Spotlight on Syria by Muhammad Najem and Nora Neus illustrated by Julie Robine
    This 320 page full color middle grade graphic novel is a powerful and moving read. The memoir focuses on the young Syrian boy who began reporting on the war from the perspective of children and sharing his work on social media.  The raw emotion, the determination to make a difference, the familial love, are conveyed […]
  • Muktar and the Camels by Janet Graber illustrated by Scott Mack
    On the border of Somalia and Kenya, there isn’t a library, or a book mobile, there is a traveling camel library! While the main character is more excited about the camels, at least his friend is excited about the books in this AR 3.2 story. Muktar is an orphan who dreams of his life before […]
  • Museum Mysteries by Steve Brezenoff illustrated by Lisa K. Weber
    I’m going to review two of the eight books in the Museum Mysteries Series that have Amal on the cover:  The Case of the Missing Museum Archives and The Case of the Stolen Space Suit.  The series focuses on four characters of diverse backgrounds who have a parent that works in one of four Capital […]
  • Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of Our Time by Saira Mir illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
    Women you have heard of, some you are meeting for the first time. Some you like, some you disagree with, women that cover, women that don’t, some young, others older, some athletic, some academic, some a little bit of both.  One fictional, a few political, but in the end, all strong women of today, all […]
  • Must Love Pets: Friends Fur-Ever by Saadia Faruqi
    This 208 middle grade novel by a Muslim author features a desi family and the protagonist’s love of pets.  Iman Bashir is on summer break and is determined to convince her mom and grandfather that she is responsible enough for a pet dog.  The internal realization of selfishness, her ability to problem solve, be a […]
  • My Garden Over Gaza by Sarah Musa illustrated by Saffia Bazlamit
    This book is hard to read, it hurts the heart, it doesn’t let you claim ignorance regarding the plight of Palestinians, and it shows cruelty,  a specific inexcusable cruelty, in a children’s book that will haunt you and infuriate you for weeks and months, if not indefinitely.  I’ve read a number of Palestine set books, […]
  • My Grandma and Me by Mina Javaherbin illustrated by Lindsey Yankey
    I absolutely love that this 32 page picture book for children five and up breaks so many stereotypes and highlights so many commonalities between all people, everywhere.  I strongly believe that books like this, can change people’s perspective, and as a children’s books can prevent negative biases from forming in the first place. Set in […]
  • My Great-Grandmother’s Gourd by Cristina Kessler illustrated by Walter Lyon Krudop
    A beautiful story based on a true event in Sudan, this 32 page AR 4.2 book contains lessons about tradition, new technology, village life, culture, family, love, and community.  Unfortunately it is one of those books that I doubt any child would pick up and want to read.  Meant for fourth graders, there is a […]
  • My Laugh-Out-Loud Life: Mayhem Mission by Burhana Islam
    Fairness aside, any book about a genuine Muslim British boy written in first person with doodles, lists, and hilarity for middle grade readers is going to be compared to the Planet Omar Books, and not only do they have the advantage of being first, but they also have set the bar really high.  This 266 […]
  • My Voice is my Super Power by Shariea Shoatz illustrated by Kilson Spany
    I want to believe most parents and/or caregivers discuss body boundaries and what’s appropriate and what’s not, with their children regularly.  But if you don’t, or haven’t, or just glossed over it while at the doctors office, this book is a great discussion starter and road map.  The author comes from a place of educational […]
  • Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story From Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter
    It is widely written about, even amongst children’s literature, that in parts of the world, girls are not allowed to go to school, but that many find ways to do so anyway.  What sets this book apart is that it is based on a true story, and while there is some hope for Nasreen, overall […]
  • Nayra and the Djinn by Iasmin Omar Ata
    Set in Ramadan this graphic novel for middle grades has a coming of age theme brought to life with fantasy, religious practices, and storylines of bullying, acceptance, and folklore.  Nayra is fasting, she prays, she says bismillah and Assalamualaikum, her  practice of her deen is never in question and by and large I don’t know […]
  • Never Give Up: A Story about Self-Esteem by Kathryn Cole illustrated by Qin Leng
    This first through third grade teaching series highlights different life lessons and concepts and features diverse characters. I reviewed a book in the series earlier with a Muslim character, not realizing that there was also one with Nadia in the lead. The 24 pages show her in hijab both at the park and at home […]

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