• 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 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 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Amazing Women of the Middle East: 25 Stories from Ancient Times to Present Day by Wafa’ Tarnowska
    A nonfiction picture book for teens that features amazing women from ancient times to the present day.  Many of the women featured are Muslim and each entry receives a teasing summation page with a full page portrait from one of five international artists before a two page, more in-depth biography is presented.  The 112 pages […]
  • 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 […]
  • Anything But Okay by Sarah Darer Littman
    This 345 page contemporary book is brand new from Scholastic and isn’t yet in the AR database, it is billed as appropriate for ages 12 and up and is probably pretty accurate.  The cover, in my opinion, is rather a disservice for the audience.  The book would appeal to girls and boys, and isn’t really […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Book One: Thunderbird by Sonia Nimr translated by M. Lynx Qualey
    My public library had this book and so I picked it up seeing that it was Palestinian authored fantasy, and I am always on the lookout to support OWN voice Palestinian stories.  The book cover is gorgeous, the inside text unfortunately is tiny making this middle school aged book only 110 pages.  It is translated […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Count by Ibrahim Moustafa with Brad Simpson and Hassan Otsmane-Elhadu
    This graphic novel retelling of the classic, Count of Monte Cristo, is for middle school readers and up and is by a Muslim author and illustrator. There is nothing Islamic or cultural in the text of this 136 page sci-fi twist, and there is some kissing, a whole lot of killing, brutality and violence, but I […]
  • Counting Down with You by Tashie Bhuiyan
    I have to be honest that this book really held my attention and was hard to put down for about two-thirds of the 416 pages.  I was genuinely invested in the characters and wanted to see how it all resolved.  Sadly, by the end, I was disappointed with the conclusion, the predictability, the stereotypes, and […]
  • Enduring Freedom by Jawad Arash and Trent Reedy
    This isn’t the type of book I am naturally drawn to, and had it not been offered to me as an arc, I didn’t even request it, I probably would not have read it.  So, to say that this young adult OWN voice 246 page post 9/11 war story had a lot to overcome for […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Golden Girl by Reem Faruqi
    I began reading this book not having any idea what it was about. All I knew, or all I cared to know, was that the incredibly amazingly talented Reem Faruqi wrote it, so I wanted to read it. While I know it will be hard for most to avoid knowing the plot, I think it […]
  • 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 […]
  • Ida in the Middle by Nora Lester Murad
    Ideal for middle school readers (upper mg/lower ya), this magical realism book takes readers from middle school in American to a Palestinian village outside of Jerusalem through the consumption of some magical olives.  Written by a Jewish author married to a Palestinian Muslim who raised their three daughters in Palestine, the book features a lot […]
  • 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 by Francesco D’Adamo
    Iqbal is the fictionalized story of the young Iqbal Masih, a real boy who escaped virtual slavery in a carpet factory to fight against child labor in Pakistan.  Although the book is a short read at only 120 pages, it is heavy in content.  The description of the children who work all day often tied […]
  • 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 […]
  • Jasmine Falling by Shereen Malherbe
    This 184 page book about a girl figuring out her past, to accept her present, and plot her future. is not marketed, or perhaps even written as a YA novel, but I’m reviewing it because while the protagonist is in her 20s the book could be enjoyable to ages 15 or so and up, if […]
  • Just a Drop of Water by Kerry O’Malley Cerra
    Thankfully the adult in me won out as I resolved to read a book whose cover and title did nothing to tempt me.  I know, I know, never judge a book by its cover, but seriously a kid running on the American flag with major Muslim characters, written by a non-Muslim about September 11th? I […]
  • 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 […]
  • Love, Hate & Other Filters by Samira Ahmed
    I seriously wish I could get back the few hours I spent reading this 281 page AR 4.8 book.  The blurbs talks about a girl being torn between the world around her and the world her Muslim-Indian-American parents want for her, unfortunately the protagonist is rather unlikeable and her worlds are actual not that different.  […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Malcolm Little: The Boy Who Grew Up to Become Malcolm X by Ilyasah Shabazz illustrated by AG Ford
    I had hoped to have a handful of selections to review for Black History Month, but alas I started too late in collecting titles, inshaAllah next year I will be better organized.  I did want to share this beautiful book though, as a great story of hope and love, that I don’t think is often […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Mosque by David Macaulay
    This 96 page “picture book” written on an AR 8.4 is not for everyone, but for those interested in architecture or structural engineering, or 16th Century Ottoman culture, or even Turkey in general, this book is fascinating, beautiful and most of all informative.  It first caught my attention when I was planning a story time […]
  • Ms. Marvel No Normal & Generation Why by G. Willow Wilson illustrated byAdrian Alphona & Jacob Wyatt
    I have to be completely honest these are the first comic books I’ve ever read from cover to cover.  So, while I’m in no position to review the art work, or historical role of the original Ms. Marvel or even have a valid opinion on the superhero story lines, I do want to cover the […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Neither This Nor That by Aliya Husain
    This 251 page novel reads like a biography that has no climax or real conflict in its linear retelling of the protagonist from 3rd grade to a junior in college.  If you are part or all Desi, raised in America in the ’80s and ’90s and have fond memories of NBC’s Must See TV, rolling […]
  • Nimrullah: The Quest for the Green Dagger by Aaron Spevack
    Oh this one was hard for me to finish.  It was the only thing I took to keep me entertained on a 7 hour plane ride in February as I was determined to read this, and even between the going and return flight, I couldn’t force myself to get through it.  Four months later out […]
  • nine, ten: A September 11 Story by Nora Raleigh Baskin
    I still struggle with the fact that 9/11/2001 is taught as history, it seems so current and fresh in my mind, that I really struggle with how works of fiction (and non fiction too) try to tell me about the pulse and the mood and the impact of something that I lived through and recall […]
  • Nowhere Boy by Katherine Marsh
    I was not expecting to be so absorbed by this 362 page AR 5.4 book.  I knew it was about a Syrian refugee in Brussels and his friendship with an American kid living in Europe for a year, so I knew that Islamaphobia and immigration would all be factors.  I also knew that as a […]
  • Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed
    I’ve never been a huge fan of short stories, but this book has me reconsidering such an arrogant approach, as every single story in this collection has me feeling the warmth of Eid, the joy of authenticity, and the beauty of being a part of a faith with such strong female writers.  Fifteen entries for […]
  • Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga
    Three hundred and forty pages written in verse that beautifully consume you and leave you emotionally changed and vulnerable and humbled all at once.  The book claims it is for middle grades, but I think middle school will appreciate it more, and I sincerely hope everyone of all ages will take a couple of hours […]
  • Piece by Afshan Malik
    This 168 page young adult book from Daybreak Press focuses on a small Muslim family in Texas, that has their own stresses and interpersonal relationships, but are thrown in to a whirlwind when the father of the family returns home from a medical mission to Syria and finds himself in the psych ward broken and […]
  • Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin’s Hijab by Priya Huq
    At 224 pages, this graphic novel tells an important OWN voice story in beautiful and powerful illustrations, but despite reading it multiple times, I ultimately found the pacing off, the narrative and plot holes quite large, and the conclusion too forced.  It claims to be for middle grades which would explain the happy ending, but […]
  • Proud: Living My American Dream (Young Readers Edition) by Ibtihaj Muhammad
    I had high expectations for a memoir about such an inspiring figure, so I treaded timidly into the book waiting to be disappointed, but after finishing the book in two days (high praise considering I have four kids), I realized I was holding my breath for nothing, the book and Ibtihaj are amazing! Now three […]
  • Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
    This 320 page YA book is hard to put down and middle school readers and up that love words, a good mystery, and fantastic writing are in for a treat.  I can’t recall the last whodunit that had me absolutely sure that I knew who was guilty, while simultaneously doubting myself until the reveal.  I mean, […]
  • Refugee by Alan Gratz
    I debated whether I should read this book, or listen to it as an audio book with my children, ages 2,7,8,11.  The AR level is 5.3 and Common Sense Media suggests 10 and up because of the intensity, but knowing my kids are aware of some of the heartbreak the book discusses from other fictional […]
  • Running Overload by Jake Maddox illustrated by Tina Francisco
    This 72  page graphic novel features a female Muslim protagonist trying to balance her desire to be a great cross country runner and the rest of her life.  Meant for 3rd graders, the lessons are applicable and relevant for readers in middle school as well. SYNOPSIS: Nimo Mohamed has made the varsity track team, and […]
  • Sadia by Colleen Nelson
    A middle school sports book with a female lead who wears hijab written by a non muslim.  The book could really go a lot of ways, I held my breath for all 239 pages waiting for something to go totally awry, and thankfully it never did.  In fact I read the book nearly straight through […]
  • Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam by Diane Stanley
    This is a beautiful historical biography of Salah al-Din, known in the west as Saladin, that I felt worth sharing despite it not being fiction.  Written on an AR Level of 7.0 the 48 pages are highly wordy, and cover a lot of historical ground.  There is a post script, a glossary and bibliography at […]
  • Sasquatch in the Paint by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld
    My tween boys read the first two books in the Streetball Crew Series and recommended I read book one because there is a Muslim character and I’m a fan of the basketball all-star author who draws on his own life and experiences growing up in the story.  It is 265 pages, an AR 4.5, and […]
  • Satoko and Nada 1 by Yupechika
    A manga series about two college roommates who have come to America to study, Nada from Saudi Arabia and Satoko from Japan.  Written by a Japanese author and translated into English, there is a lot about Muslims, particularly Muslims from Saudi, as the two characters get to know each other and become friends.  Their interactions […]
  • Shadow Magic by Joshua Khan illustrated by Ben Hibon
    This book is fun and enchanting, whether you read all 321 pages and fall in to the occasional illustrations and pour over the map, or listen to the audio and get swept away.  It is an AR 4.1, and the first in the three part series.  Told by the point of view of two characters, […]
  • Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin Hamid
    This 176 page book about life in Khartoum, Sudan reads almost like a memoir with short, loosely connected chapters detailing a young protagonists day-to-day life growing up.  There is no real conflict  until the very, very end, and the majority of the chapters just seem like snapshots with little to no continuity.  That isn’t to […]
  • Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood by Ibtisam Barakat
    This memoir may qualify as non fiction, but the majority of this 176 page book is told from the perspective of the author when she was three years old, so much of it reads to me as somewhere between historical fiction and autobiography.  No matter how you categorize it though, this AR 5.8 book is […]
  • That Can Be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story by Huda Fahmy
    I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t review and highlight the first book, “Yes, I’m Hot in This: The Hilarious Truth About Life in a Hijab” I really should have, so to cut to the chase if you don’t follow the author/illustrator on social media you really should and you should read both her books. […]
  • The Adventures of Nur Al-Din by Badees Nouiouat
    I really enjoyed this book.  It is self published, and the expectation was zero and I honestly read all 214 pages in two sittings. I probably could have read it faster, but ahh kids and dinner, and my middle school son somehow got to it to read when I put it down.  We both enjoyed […]
  • The Awakening of Malcolm X: A Novel by Ilyasah Shabazz and Tiffany D. Jackson
    This historical fiction piece about Malcolm X follows him through incarceration with flashbacks to his childhood and teenage years.  Written by his daughter it is hard to know where this 336 page book is factual and where it takes artistic freedom with filling in the blanks. A few creative liberties are mentioned in the author’s […]
  • The Battle by Karuna Riazi
    This claims to be a companion book to The Gauntlet, but it does rely heavily on details from the first to make sense of who some of the characters are as this book does little to explain them and advance their story.  In reality the book is very similar to the first book, but sadly […]
  • The Bee Tree by Stephen Buchmann and Diana Cohn illustrated by Paul Mirocha
    This is one of those books that it is hard to know who the target audience is and who would most enjoy the text heavy 40 pages about a boy coming of age in Malaysia by harvesting honey in a traditional manner.  The two page spread illustrations are rich and inviting, and with an AR […]
  • The Broken Kingdom by H.G. Hussein
    An engaging chapter book that blends adventure, friendship, battles, mystery, and faith over 292 pages of easy reading and rich storytelling.  The book appeals to readers 10 and up with it being completely clean and age appropriate for anyone younger who can handle the storyline.  The characters are not just active and practicing Muslims, but […]
  • The Candle and the Flame by Nafiza Azad
    It takes about 124 pages to be swept away to the city of Noor, but once it happens, it is hard to come back.  The 391 page fantasy story takes a while to get going, but the character driven plot filled with amazingly strong and diverse women is worth the slow start.  Middle school readers […]
  • The Day of the Pelican by Katherine Paterson
    There is a lot to be grateful for in this 145 page AR 5.2 book before you even begin reading it.  The fact that Katherine Paterson, of Bridge to Teribithia fame, would write a middle school book about the horrors that took place in Kosovo in the late 90s and conclude with the events of […]
  • The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
    Take Jumanji, turn it into a chapter book, flavor it with steam punk, set it in a Middle Eastern inspired marketplace, and have the protagonist be a Bengali-American, hijab wearing Muslim on a quest to save her little brother with her two BFFs from New York. Bam, you now have a 298 page AR 5.4 […]
  • The Girl and the Ghost by Hanna Alkaf
    A book meant for middle grades, 8-12 year olds, that has depth and layers and culture and strength is not something you find very often.  Over 275 pages, the book is at times dark and haunting, but what is truly remarkable is that it doesn’t talk down to young readers and with its pop cultural […]
  • The House of Wisdom by Florence Parry Heide and Judith Heide Gilliland illustrated by Mary Grandpre’
    This 37 page, non fiction book written on a AR 5.1 is a beautiful telling of 9th century Baghdad and the quest, collection, and love of knowledge.  It follows the true story of Ishaq, a young boy who’s father translates books and documents in the House of Wisdom, the intellectual center of everything. Ishaq has […]
  • The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah
    At the risk of sounding pretentious or like I have written a book before, sadly this really reads like a debut novel.  At 311 pages, there is a lot to love about this Muslim authored, Muslim protagonist sci-fi/dystopian adventure, but I have so many more questions about everything after reading the book, than I did […]
  • The Magic Horse by Idries Shah illustrated by Julie Freeman
    I didn’t get it.  I read it to my kids they did’t get it. I know it is written on an AR 5.8, but even with that, we didn’t get it.  I had to google it to see what the deeper meaning of the story was and all I found is that it is a […]
  • The Muslims by Zanib Mian
    After reading this book, I really, really want to meet (and be friends with) the author, she writes from the point of view of Omar, a nine year old boy, and his perspective and voice are so authentic and relevant that while the book targets 3rd through 5th grade, I am certain kids and adults, […]
  • The Servant by Fatima Sharafeddine
    This 157 page young adult book is translated from Arabic and while at times the story seems intentionally choppy, at other times it seems that the translation is making it more jarring than it needs to be.  I found the book interesting and powerful, in much the way a short story can be, but the […]
  • The Shape of Thunder by Jasmine Warga
    Usually when a book leaves me with a lot of questions, it is because the author’s writing was incomplete or flawed, this book however, left me with a lot of questions and I’m certain the author did this deliberately. Hence, I don’t know to be irritated or impressed that I care enough about the characters […]
  • The Sign of the Scorpion by Farah Zaman
    This is the second book in the Moon of Masarrah series, but can be read as a stand alone book if you are looking for a linear story with fast paced action, intense twists, decently developed characters and quality writing that brings the sleuthing of Muslim characters to life.  At 229 pages including the glossary, […]
  • The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q. Rauf
    Woah! Domestic abuse, foster care, murder, astronomy, and above all hope and bravery. It is so, so much, and so beautifully dealt with from the perspective of a child, that I’m still living in Aniyah’s world and praying she is doing ok.  As the beginning of the book states, it is a story written for […]
  • The Story of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him): Ramadan Classics: 30 Stories for 30 Nights by Humera Malik
    I debated posting about this book for so long that Ramadan is more than half over.  But as a reference for years to come, I thought I should go ahead and throw my late support toward this Ramadan tradition and a book deserving of space on your shelf for children 4th grade and up.  I’ve […]
  • The Tower by Shereen Malherbe
    At 246 pages I’m not sure if this book would be classified as Young Adult, but I think it could be, as its message, focus and presentation makes it a valuable thought provoking read.  And the cleanliness of everything being resolved so neatly might almost be too coincidental for older, more jaded readers, where I […]
  • The Vine Basket by Josanne La Valley
    While in the midst of moving from Knoxville to Birmingham nearly 4 years ago, a lady reached out to me telling me that a colleague of hers, also an author, was a follower and fan of my blog and had recently passed away, she asked if she could send me a copy of her friend’s […]
  • The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf
    This brand new middle school read is like a quick picture of a young girl’s life.  You get to know her as she is, you briefly meet those around her, you see a week or so of her life and then the book ends and you aren’t the same.  You wonder about her, you worry […]

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