Tag Archives: Muslim culture

The Proudest Blue – Ibtihaj Muhammad, with S. K. Ali. Art by Hatem Aly

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Walker Books Australia

February 2020

ISBN: 9781783449712
Imprint: Andersen Press
Australian RRP: $24.99
New Zealand RRP: $26.99

This is a beautiful expression of a strong bond between sisters as well as an empowering story to encourage children to be proud of their culture and to better understand the cultural differences of their classmates. The strong anti-bullying message is one that is of the utmost importance particularly given recent events which have shocked the world.

Ibtihaj Muhammad is an Olympic medallist in fencing and the first Muslim American woman in hijab to compete for the USA in the Games. She is well placed then to share the love between Faizah and Asiya and their strength and pride in their culture, drawing on her own experiences especially at school when she began to wear the hijab. Carrying the wise words of their mother the girls face down the taunts and jeers of ignorant bullies and express the joy they find in their faith and love of Allah.

Little Faizah sees her big sister as a beautiful princess and her new ‘first day’ hijab in deep beautiful blue fills her with happiness. She looks forward to the day when she too can wear the hijab with the same pride and elegance as Asiyah and knows that she too will choose the gorgeous blue – colour of the sky and the ocean.

This is a truly lovely book and one that will become an important and integral staple in your collection.

Highly recommended for young readers from around six years upwards.

Beyond Belief (Heroes of the Holocaust) – Dee White

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beyond-belief

Scholastic

March 2020

Publisher: Scholastic/Omnibus Books

ISBN: 9781760662516

RRP $17.99

It may be the holidays and I don’t need to be up at the crack of dawn to get to school but even so for me to read a book cover to cover in one night when I go to bed is pretty much indicative of a great read.

Dee White I thank you for introducing me firstly to a history of which I had no idea and secondly for transforming that into a narrative that is at once fraught with tension and filled with hope.

Based on true events of the Muslims in Paris who rescued Jewish children at the risk of their own safety, this is the story of eleven year old Ruben and his perilous journey to evade the evils perpetrated by the Nazi occupiers of France. Left by his parents at the Grand Mosque in Paris so that he will be safe while they go in search of Ruben’s older sister and her husband, Ruben has been promised that a saviour known as ‘The Fox’ will come for him before long. In the meantime, he must become as ‘Muslim’ as is possible for a Jewish boy in order to protect his identity – as well as the mosque inhabitants.

However when the mosque and its faithful protectors are targeted by the Nazi regime a flight into danger ensues and Ruben plus other at-risk friends Hana and her little brother Momo are in the hands of the network of resistance fighters/rescuers.

Their escape is dangerous for all concerned but there is light at the end of the tunnel and when they finally reach a safe haven there is an astonishing revelation in store for young Ruben.

The pace and intensity of this narrative leaves the reader almost breathless as we feel ourselves to be right in the danger with the children. Such histories of the Holocaust – and the story of both survivors and those who so selflessly helped them – are testaments to the enduring and inherent goodness and courage of so many. How truly wonderful that Dee White has shed light on this chapter in this narrative to inform readers – and incidentally proven the true character of Islam to a wider public. These are the books that will empower our young people to grow in acceptance, compassion and empathy.

I cannot recommend this highly enough particularly for readers from around 12 years upwards and as a ‘read-around-your-topic’ for students of the Holocaust and World War II.

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Click here to read more about Dee’s journey to bring this story to life.

Mimi

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By: Fatima Sharafeddine Illustrator: Rasha Mounib Al Hakim

Bloomsbury Publishing

January 2017

While I’m on this note of promoting intercultural understandings, I think it’s timely to add these two books to the blog. They are quite simply written with bold illustrations and perfectly capture small adventures in a little girl’s life. The important thing to my mind is that this little girl is Muslim and with all the negativity about Islam in the media it’s even more necessary for our readers to understand that diversity is not something to reject.

mimipiano

Mimi and the Piano

ISBN 9781408887448

Like many kids Mimi decides on a new hobby – in this case the piano. She really does love it but oh my goodness, the practice as her lessons grow harder. Her teacher wants her to perform in the end of year concert but Mimi puts on her seriously grumpy face and wants to pack it in.  Will her mum and teacher be able to persuade her to keep going?

Sounds like quite a few children I’ve known!

mimiparis

Mimi in Paris

ISBN 9781408887400

How very exciting! Mimi and her family are off to Paris for a vacation. So much to see, so many new things to explore and people to meet – not to mention the glorious food! Even though her mum warns her not to wander off, Mimi can’t resist chasing some very amusing pigeons and oh oh! She’s lost L.

Luckily she has a card from the hotel in her pocket and so even though she can’t speak French, a kind female police officer helps her find her way back. Lesson learned!

Coming of Age: growing up Muslim in Australia – Amra Pajalic & Demet Divaroren [Edit.]

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growingupmuslim

ISBN: 9781743312926
Australian Pub.: January 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Imprint: A & U Children
Subject: Young adult non fiction

RRP $18.99

As many in our nation continue to fear and abuse any of the Muslim faith and while even the global media whips this anti-Islam feeling into frenzy, this is an important book for young Australian adults.

This is a collection of memoirs of growing up in Australia in the Muslim faith contributed by both well-known and unknown young Australian Muslims. From funny to touching to sombre, these experiences recount the challenges encountered growing up in our multicultural society provide a real insight to the diversity of the Muslim experience and the influence of culture, family and gender in shaping identity.

With Harmony Day just a matter of weeks away, this book is prominent in our library’s display to celebrate this event and would be a valuable resource for any secondary library or curriculum study.

Pajalic and Divaroren, both experienced and successful writers, are also the co-authors of another volume What a Muslim Woman Looks Like.

While even young adult readers will be aware of the beard, the hijab, the front page news; through this collection, they will be able to dig deeper to a greater understanding of Muslim life in Australia.

….dispelling myths and stereotypes, and above all celebrating diversity, achievement, courage and determination… [Publisher] this volume, IMO, should be on offer in every high school particularly with reference to the ACARA general capability of Intercultural Understanding.

Highly recommended for readers from around Year 7 and upwards. Find extensive teaching notes here at Allen & Unwin.