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 is a table of contents, but the point being that you don’t have to be born into royalty, or be a warrior, or have lived a long time ago to be amazing, you just have to follow your passion. I learned so much about people I thought I knew about, and was tickled to learn about people I have never heard of: bakers, athletes, actors, educated slaves, architects, spies, singers, scientists and politicians.
At the end of each six page illustrated blurb is an “Interesting Fact” and at the end of the entire book are some activities in the “Amazing Extras” section. Readers can crack a code like Noor Inayat Khan who helped the Allies decode and send secret messages from France to Britain or write a poem like Rumi, a song like Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), draw a superhero like G. Willow Wilson, make a camera following the science of Hasan Ibn Al-Haytham, or color a picture of Muhammad Al-Idrisi.
My favorite biographies were those that I knew little or nothing about before hand. If I had to pick two favorite among all of those sections, I’d pick Khawlah bint Al-Azwar and Ayuba Suleiman Diallo.
In 600 CE Arabia, Khawah, the masked knight, learned how to fight along side her brother and eventually served with Khalid ibn Waleed in battle. It is said that she killed the Byzantine leader that captured her and then asked for her hand in marriage.
Ayuba Suleiman Diallo in the 1700s in modern day Senegal was a highly educated man who was captured and forced in to slavery in Maryland, USA, interacted with James Oglethorpe, found himself being sent to England and with the help of a Thomas Bluett was able to be freed and eventually return home a free man. SubhanAllah!
This book has it all: famous Muslim men, famous Muslim women, Black Muslims, Arab Muslims, European Muslims, American Muslims, Asian Muslims, African Muslims, Muslims who lived a long time ago, Muslims who are still alive all jumbled up and beautifully presented by a Muslim author and a handful of Muslim illustrators. This book is wonderful for 3rd graders to adults and would be a benefit on any book shelf. It is worth noting there are no sources given, and doesn’t explain how the people were chosen to be included in the book.