• A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi
    The book is often marketed as a Muslim coming of age story in a post 9/11 world.  The contemporary work is semi-autobiographical, but really I think the positioning is a bit misleading.  It’s a love story, and the main character is Muslim, and her environment is awful and she is angry. Its an engaging read, […]
  • All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney
    The power of own voice books is that while you may not agree with everything presented, you appreciate that it is being presented.  This 417 page high school young adult book is authentic and relatable and regardless of if you agree with the characters’ approaches, decisions, and understanding, you see and learn something about fictional […]
  • An Acquaintance by Saba Syed
    A young adult Islamic fiction romance novel, yes its a genre, albeit small one. I braced myself for stereotypes, cheesiness, over simplifications, sweeping condemnation, and preachy reprimands.  They never came.  I think this book is different, because from what I felt while reading it, and from what I’ve read the author say, this book is […]
  • An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir
    Our local library automatically renews books, so I’ve had this 446 page AR 5.0 novel sitting on my night stand since October.  I got the online version when I went overseas, and I even downloaded the audio book.  Needless to say, I never opened it, in any form.  And then four days ago, I did.  […]
  • An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi
    This 256 page YA OWN voice book is a real and raw look at a character and the many layers of life weighing down on her.  At the center of it all is a strong Muslim teen dealing with post 9/11 bigotry, the shattering of her family, toxic friendships, and a broken heart.  It is […]
  • 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 […]
  • Ask Me No Questions By Marina Budhos
    Before posting my thoughts of Ask Me No Questions, by Marina Budhos, I re-read the book. Luckily at only 162 pages and an Accelerated Reader Level of 4.8, the fast paced plot made for a quick read.  Having read it in 2007, when it first came out, I recall having liked it, and could recall […]
  • 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 […]
  • Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. by Medeia Sharif
    This book fails on so many levels: the writing quality, the title, the representation of Islam and Ramadan, messages about weight and beauty, and female self-worth to name a few.  This 299 page 5.0 AR book looked great as I was skimming through the library book catalog.  I knew it was young adult romance and saw […]
  • 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 […]
  • Boy vs Girl by Na’ima B. Robert
    I read this book a few years ago and was blown away that Islamic fiction could explore these topics compellingly in a YA package.  I remember loaning out the book to a mom with middle school kids to see if she could tell me how accurate the storylines were.  Yeah, I never got the book […]
  • Broken Moon by Kim Antieau
    I didn’t initially think the premise of the book was terribly original: a poor scarred girl in Pakistan working as a servant, cuts her hair to look like a boy and be free to move about and rescue her brother.  But the weaving in of the One Thousand and One Arabian Nights stories into the larger […]
  • 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 […]
  • Does My Head Look Big in This? By Randa Abdel-Fattah
    I think I have purchased this book at least twice before and have never gotten around to reading before loaning it off to someone, that is until we were snowed in a few days ago.  Similarly bizarre, whenever I’ve asked someone who has read it what they thought of it, I’d nearly always get a […]
  • Down and Across: A Novel by Arvin Ahmadi
    This 320 page book featuring an Iranian American lead written by an Iranian American is a coming of age story written on an AR 5.2 level, that I don’t think most reading this blog would want their child to identify with.  It is an OWN voice book from what I can gather in the author’s […]
  • 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 […]
  • From Somalia With Love By Na’ima B. Robert
    This book was a great glimpse into Somali Muslims in the UK, a world I admittedly know nothing about.  Whether accurate or not, I loved the incorporation of words, foods, culture, all of it.  And most of all I love that the main character Safia is a Muslima.  Yes, the point of the book is a […]
  • Guantanamo Voices: True Accounts from the World’s most Infamous Prison by Sarah Mirk, introduction by Omar Al Akkad, illustrated by Gerardo Alba, Kasia Babis, Alex Beguez, Tracy Chahwan, Nomi Kane, Omar Khouri, Kane Lynch, Maki Naro, Hazel Newlewant, Jeremy Nguyen, Chelsea Saunders, and Abu Zubaydah
    This 208 page graphic novel, is indeed graphic.  The unbelievable horrors detailed in the stories shared are all sourced and referenced in the nonfiction anthology. The intent isn’t shock and awe like the war that created such abysmal breaches of justice to be done in our name (Americans’), but is definitely a painful reminder of […]
  • Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin
    Technically this book is adult fiction because the protagonist is 24 years old, but the halal rom-com is so sweet and considering the YA options that exist in the same genre, I think high school juniors and senior would do better to dive in to this light, enjoyable, albeit predictable, read over so many of […]
  • Here to Stay by Sara Farizan
    I really thought this book was a middle school book when I picked it up: the cover illustration, the length (265 pages), the larger font and generous spacing, but then I started reading it and the first two chapters alone have cursing, underage drinking, mention of sex and making out, straight and lesbian couples, and […]
  • Home is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo
    This upper middle school/high school 224 page novel told in verse touches on familiar themes of finding yourself and wondering about what could have been, but is anything but predictable.  Through magical realism, religion, culture, and phenomenal imagery, this book is haunting and powerful as it sweeps you into the possible alternate reality of a […]
  • House of Glass Hearts by Leila Siddiqui
    This 278 page magical realism YA book featuring a Muslim family grabs your attention and heart in the prologue, unfortunately it quickly releases it, and until you get over a third of the way in to the story, it is a struggle to read.  Once you accept that half of the book, the storyline set […]
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed
    The premise of this book is amazing, the writing and execution of it, unfortunately, falls flat.  The failure to set the stage, develop characters the reader cares about, and create a world in the near future that is both riveting and horrifying doesn’t come through in the book’s 387 pages written on an AR 4.7, […]
  • It All Comes Back to You by Farah Naz Rishi
    Sometimes you just want a light fun, empty-calorie read, and in that regard I feel like this book really delivered.  The characters are in college, and yet it is published by HarperCollins Children, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, which perhaps added to the lack of expectation and increased forgiveness.  It reads very […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • Lissa: A Story about Medical Promise, Friendship, and Revolution by Sherine Hamdy & Coleman Nye illustrated by Sara Bao & Caroline Brewer
    When I first started teaching I wasn’t a big fan of graphic novels, slowly I saw their benefit for struggling readers, and eventually I came to appreciate them as an enhanced tweak in story telling for everyone.  This book however takes the concept to the next level, for me anyway.   As the inside flap […]
  • Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali
    Now that there is legitimately a genre of YA Islamic Romance out there told in Own Voice, the expectations are high that a book is compelling, realistic, and unique somehow.  While the author’s first book, Saints and Misfits was pretty ground breaking, this 342 page was a great read, but not nearly as remarkable or […]
  • 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.  […]
  • Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed
    I really should give up reading Samira Ahmed books.  This is the third one I’ve read, and while she is definitely getting better, I still don’t know why her editors don’t fix her flat notes.  Like in Internment, the premise in this book is amazing, but other parts are just cringe-y and painful and really, […]
  • Mirage by Somaiya Daud
    I don’t read a lot of sci-fi books, ok so maybe I haven’t really ever read one…or maybe a few have snuck through and then been forgotten.  So, I was excited to read this book by a Muslim author with Arabic poetry and Moroccan inspired backdrop sprinkled in, if nothing else it had me intrigued.  […]
  • Misfits in Love by S.K. Ali
    I reread my review of Saints and Misfits before diving in to this sequel that can also work as a stand alone, and imagine my absolute delight when all the things I wanted more of: Muhammed and Sarah, the mom, Jeremy, etc., were explored in this wonderful high school and up, 320 page, romantic comedy […]
  • More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood
    This book is a Muslim YA romcom OWN voice written by a Muslim male.  Woah, right? And the actual story, sigh (blush) I enjoyed it, and part of me is disappointed in myself for how much I enjoyed it.  Most of the characters are Muslim and all over the spectrum in their religiosity so to […]
  • 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 […]
  • 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 […]
  • No Ordinary Day by George Green
    I was really, really excited to get this book in my hands.  An early chapter book, about Islam and sports, with diverse characters, that seemed to be the start of a series featuring the “Childhood Champions,” seemed to have the potential to fill a gaping void in Islamic fiction.  And while the book shows promise […]
  • No True Believers by Rabiah York Lumbard
    This YA Fiction book by a Muslim author filled with many Muslim characters has a lot going for it, and while I didn’t love it, and felt that it was trying to do too much in 304 pages, I think most early high school readers will enjoy the cyber hacking plot, the islamaphobia and white […]
  • Not the Girls You’re Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi
    This book did not work for me. Despite the fact that the main character is Muslim and it is Ramadan, no matter how much I wanted to connect with this multicultural lead and her friends, and see myself in her as she navigates high school, I just could not. The writing was choppy 3rd person […]
  • 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 […]
  • Peeper and the Peeping Boy by Ayesha Marfani illustrated by Aisha Aamir
    I see the author regularly posting positive feedback for this book and after feeling let down by the last book of hers that I read, that had a great premise, I tentatively reached for this one.  The book is meant for children in grades 2 through 5, but the writing seems a bit all over […]
  • 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 […]
  • Playing Atari with Saddam Hussein: Based on a True Story by Jennifer Roy with Ali Fadhil
    This 165 page AR 3.9 book about the 42 days in 1991 that Iraq was at war with the United States is told from an 11 year old half Kurdish Christian boy’s perspective, but he mentions that he has friends that are Muslim and culturally and historically the book is relevant, important, and engaging as […]
  • Power Forward: Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream by Hena Khan illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
    I enjoy Hena Khan’s books, I love basketball, and I love that this three book series is written for 3rd-5th graders.  I didn’t love the cover, however, which I attribute to the reason I waited so long to start reading the book, I know, lame.  But luckily the books were in the public library and […]
  • Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
    Four hundred pages of painfully powerful verse that you will have to force yourself to slow down and not rush through.  Yes, you want to know what happens to the young, black, muslim teen writing his truth, but to read it too quickly will deprive you of feeling and contemplating and absorbing the message that […]
  • 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 […]
  • Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
    I enjoyed this book a lot. I had a bag of halal gummy bears, a rainstorm raging outside, and an excuse to snuggle in bed with a book, and I couldn’t put it down, even when I ran out of gummy bears.  I think mature 16 year olds and up could read it, and probably […]
  • Salaam, with Love by Sara Sharaf Beg
    This 288 page YA contemporary Islamic romcom is very Islamic centered, and the storyline provides some nice twists along the way.  Unfortunately the writing is terrible.  Not the storytelling or even grammar per say, but the contradictions, errors, underdeveloped characters, and the inconsistencies. Yes I read an uncorrected proof, but this book is a mainstream […]
  • 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 […]
  • Saving Kabul Corner by N.H. Senzai
    For all of us waiting to see what happened to the characters from Shooting Kabul, N.H. Senzai answers that question in Saving Kabul Corner, while maintaining a stand alone story of mystery and family.  It is not necessary to read Shooting Kabul first, and if you have not recently read Shooting Kabul you may not […]
  • 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, […]
  • Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
    In many ways this 338 page dystopian YA fiction book focuses more on romance than the super human powers the 17 year old protagonist has and the role she will play in the resistance.  That isn’t to say the book is bad, just that it isn’t as high action, or reform-a-broken-world, or even use-my-super-powers-to-save-myself-and-those-around-me as […]
  • She Wore Red Trainers by Nai’ma B. Robert
    After having fairly good luck with the Muslim YA Romance Novel Genre in An Acquaintance and Saints and Misfits, I was willing to give She Wore Red Trainers a try.  Na’ima B. Robert has written a lot of books and this 261 page book was an easy and entertaining read.  There are no plot twists, […]
  • Shooting Kabul By N.H. Senzai
    Shooting Kabul is another book that I just re-read to see if it would be a good fit for our 5th – 8th grade Book Club, and I think it will be a perfect fit, so much in fact that i just ordered enough copies to use for our next selection, inshaAllah.  It has an […]
  • Show Yourself by Adeeba Jafri
    At 98 pages the book claims to be two YA mental health novellas that bring attention to mental health in a relatable and contemporary audience through Muslim characters.  As someone with some experience in loving individuals going through some of the issues addressed in the book, I was thrilled that voices were making it on […]
  • Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim
    Having been pleasantly surprised with a few recent reads in the romance/islamic fiction genre I thought to give this slightly more cultural take a try.  Unfortunately, this book didn’t surprise me pleasantly, but rather left me disappointed and slightly annoyed.  At 231 pages and an AR 5.2, the book would have worked much better framed […]
  • Sophia’s Journal by Najiyah Diana Maxfield
    It is not terribly uncommon for my mind to remain stuck in books long after I have read the last page, but it has been a while since an Islamic young adult book has held me hostage.  This book was recommended to me by Anse Tamara Gray whose Daybreak Press published the book, and while […]
  • Sway with Me by Syed M. Masood
    This author won me over with More Than Just a Pretty Face, and his ability to celebrate and show flaws within our desi cultures while simultaneously presenting relatable Islamic experiences in a romantic comedy.   I have been yet to determine if this YA/Teen 328 page book follows in those footsteps, or cuts a little […]
  • Ten Things I hate About Me by Randa Abdel-Fattah
    I’ve read and reviewed a few Randa Abdel-Fattah books and read and reviewed even more cheesy West-meets-East-and-my-parents-are-so-strict-so-I-will-rebel books, that with such a flimsy title referencing a movie which references Shakespeare, I didn’t expect much.  With such minimal standards, the book didn’t disappoint and the surprising warmth of many of the characters actually left a pleasant […]
  • 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 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 Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf illustrated by Pipa Curnick
    A perfect introduction to the refugee crisis for upper elementary aged kids.  The story is told from the perspective of an unnamed 9 and 3/4 year old narrator about her friends and how the filling of an empty chair in the back of the room changed their lives.  Ages 7 through 12 will enjoy the […]
  • The Breadwinner By Deborah Ellis
    The Breadwinner is the first book in Deborah Ellis’ four book series about 11 year-old-Parvana, her friends, and her family in Taliban controlled Afghanistan.  The remarkable thing about this book is that it is a compelling story, that has moments of intensity and reality, yet never falters from being on about a 4th grade reading and […]
  • 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 Cat at the Wall by Deborah Ellis
     I had really high hopes for this book after reading and loving all of Deborah Ellis’s Parvana books and thoroughly respecting her ability to take highly complicated world events and presenting them in a compassionate palatable manner for elementary aged students to digest and benefit from.  The premise of the book intrigued me, a reincarnated 13 […]
  • The Cat I Never Named: A True Story of Love, War, and Survival by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess with Laura L. Sullivan
    This amazingly captive 370 page, nonfiction autobiography details life during 1992 through 1995 in Bihać, Bosnia through the eyes of a 16-year-old Muslim girl.  The horrors of war, her determination to survive, a lifesaving cat, and her coming of age, all come together to make for a compelling read that is both reflective and inspiring. […]
  • The Chronicles of Bani Israil: The King, Queen, and the Hoopoe Bird by Dr. Osman Umarji illustrated by Sama Wareh
    At 134 pages the fictionalized retelling of Prophet Sulaiman’s (AS) kingdom and interaction with Queen Bilqis comes to life from the point of view of a Hoopoe bird.  The book is marketed as a “Quranic fantasy adventure,” which I found a bit misleading.  The book is rooted in Quran and Hadith facts according to the […]
  • The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
    This series is adult fantasy written by a Muslim author for her ummah and contains Muslim characters. I think the series as a whole is definitely not YA, as the main characters would age out of the target demographic, but I think that book one could qualify. I’ve contacted the author to get her perspective […]
  • The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
    The Complete Persepolis is both Satrapi’s volume one and two of her memoir about growing up in Iran during the revolution.  At 341 pages of black and white graphic novel intense story telling I was fascinated by its 3.3 AR level for volume 1 and 3.9 for volume 2. Clearly this is once again a […]
  • 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 Friendship Matchmaker Goes Undercover
    I’m posting yet another Randa Abdel-Fattah book that my mom stumbled upon and sent me 10 copies to do for our Book Club. I didn’t love the book, but it is clean and brings up the issue of bullying, friendship and honesty.  So, I’ve decided to do a 3rd- 5th grade Jr. Book Club and […]
  • 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 Great Race to Sycamore Street by J. Samia Mair
    A fun book for elementary aged children looking for a fast paced, energetic read, with Islamic morals and lessons.  Overall a great book about character, being a good neighbor, and never giving up, The Great Race to Sycamore Street is not in the AR database, but I estimate it at about a 4.3 level and think even […]
  • The Hajj Adventures of Jamila and Fasfoose by Ediba Kezzeiz illustrated by Abd al-Hayy Moore
    The book isn’t much to look at with its black and white, with yellow thrown in cover, and its 40 pages bound with a staple, but for independent readers between 2nd and 4th grade or so, the book is good.  In many ways it is an older kids version of Zaahir and Jamel, adding a […]
  • The Hijab Boutique by Michelle Khan
    I was really hoping this book would help out the sparsely populated early chapter book section.  And it should, at just 52 pages with beautiful full page pencil style drawings, it just somehow seemed confused instead.  The content is much more young adult in story line, but because of the short length, the characters seem flat […]
  • The House of Ibn Kathir: The Competition Begins by S.N. Jalali
    At 254 pages this boarding school story beautifully blends Islamic information, mystery, and compelling characters embarking on a new stage of their lives.  I was pleasantly surprised at how easy and engaging this book for upper elementary aged children reads and would strongly recommend it for grades 3-5. SYNOPSIS: Eleven year old Yusif is about […]
  • 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 Lines We Cross by Randa Abel-Fattah
    It is kind of remarkable now that I look back on the book, that before reading it, I knew exactly what was going to happen based on the jacket flap synopsis, yet somehow the book held my interest and I finished it easily.  There were no surprises, no plot twists, not even any amazingly poignant […]
  • 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 Most Pleasant Festival of Sacrifice: Little Barul’s Eid Celebration by Munise Ulker Illustrated by Beyza Soylu
    This book is beautiful, it feels great in your hands, the raised glitter embellishments in the illustrations, the price point, everything except the text.  The gist of the story is even fine, the execution is just off.  It reads very much like it has been translated from another language in to English, and yes my […]
  • 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 Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
    I was curious to see how partition would be presented in this book by an Indian Hindu author featuring characters who are half Hindu and half Muslim relocating to Hindu India.  Told in journal entries written by 12 year old Nisha to her deceased Muslim mother, the 264 page AR 4.5 book is wonderfully done, […]
  • The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney illustrated by Shane W. Evans
    I didn’t realize the book was written in prose until I opened it up to read, and immediately taken-aback I rechecked the AR level and sure enough, this 309 page book that is written in prose and covers the genocide in Darfur, is written on a 4.2 level. And it is amazing. I forced myself […]
  • The Secret Sky: A Novel of Forbidden Love in Afghanistan by Atia Abawi
    This was another book I stumbled upon in the Scholastic Teen Book Flyers, and I wanted to read it to see, once again, how Muslims are being portrayed in books presented and widely distributed in the school markets.    I didn’t figure given the “romantic element” it would be a candidate for our Book Club, […]
  • 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 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 Tale of Princess Fatima, Warrior Woman: The Arabic Epic of Dhat al-Himma translated and edited by Melanie Magidow
    I’m not sure how to really review this 167 page book.  It is the translated YA work of an Arabic Epic that took place somewhere between the seventh and 10th centuries and began possibly being compiled in the 1100s.  It was told orally, but when written, comprised some 6000 pages.  The translator notes that the […]
  • The Theft of Sunlight by Intisar Khanani
    Breathe, deep breaths, exhale, phew.  This book is good, like really good, but it ends on a cliff hanger and I was not prepared for it because I read a digital copy and didn’t think 528 pages had gone by.  Needless to say I was not emotionally prepared for there not to be a resolution. […]

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