This is not a typical review from me, more of my thoughts on Ms. Marvel books inclusion of Islam. Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel has been around for a while now, and while I cannot comment on the show, I never watched it, I do appreciate that her faith is still a major part of her character building in books, even in young children’s 2022 and 2023 books about her. I have some concerns with her choices sure, but that a Little Gold Book and a leveled reader feature Islam as part of her identity, does still make me smile.
Little Golden Book: On the very first page it establishes her Pakistani American background before it explains her super powers and her connection her to Carol Danvers, Captain Marvel. It then shows Kamala at the masjid making duas and showing her family with text that attributes her Muslim religion for being the foundation of how she learned how to be a good hero and good person. Nakia is consistently across different platforms depicted as wearing hijab, and this children’s book is no different. The book at the end does conflate her culture with her religion, with the use of the word heritage, but that Islam is positively highlighted in this 24 page children’s book is great representation.
Super Readers Level 3: This meet book introduces 16 characters in the Ms. Marvel series and each two page spread tells about them. On the page about Kamala’s family, her mom is not in hijab, but her brother is wearing a kufi/topi and their names are shared: Aamir, Yusuf and Muneeba. It also shares that her parents are from Karachi, Pakistan. It isn’t until Nakia is introduced on page 26 (of 48) that it articulates that Ms. Marvel is Muslim. “Kamala met Nakia in Kindergarten. Nakia is a practicing Muslim, just like Kamala.” The next page shows her hugging her other best friend, a boy named Bruno, so that is a little hard to accept, and it states that the super dog Lockjaw is her pet. The term Muslim also appears in the glossary.
I found both books at my local library and definitely liked the Little Golden Book representation more, but was happy to see that her religion was not watered down or shied away from for younger readers in both.