Last night at sundown, Ramadan started. Muslims mark the holiday by abstaining during daylight hours, but we'll mark it with a book list with Muslim characters.
Bestest. Ramadan. Ever. by Medeia Sharif. School and boys and friendship drama and oppressive parents and trying to fit in with two cultures is hard enough. It's harder when you're starving from sun up to sun down. At least fasting will shed a few pounds? Maybe?
Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah. Amal knows that deciding to wear the hajib it won't be easy. However, she's not prepared for the amount of pushback she gets. Despite it, Amal doesn't back down and faces the challenges with humor and faith.
Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim. These are Nina's problems-- her sister set the academic bar WAY too high. She's the only Pakistani girl in school. Her parents are super strict. She has some severe body hair issues (all the women in her family do) including some on her back that she can't reach to deal with. And even if the boy she liked did like her, she still couldn't date him. What's a girl to do?
Growing Up Muslim: Understanding the Beliefs and Practices of Islam by Sumbul Ali-Karamali. This one focuses on the wide variety of Muslim experience, especially in terms of geography. It gives history, belief, and practice, and makes a point to answer the most common and biggest questions non-Muslim teens have about Islam.
The American Muslim Teenager's Handbook by Dalara Hafiz, Imran Hafiz, and Yasmine Hafiz. Written for a Muslim audiences, this title offers practical advice on how to observe religious belief, tradition, and practice while still being a "normal" teen in the US. While not the intended audience, non-Muslim teens will also enjoy this book while learning more about Islam.
Boy vs. Girl by Na'ima B. Robert. Farhana and Faraz are twins, trying to balance the strict ways of their parents with the lives of their classmates and friends. Farhana struggles with the hajib and cute boys, but Faraz's struggles are gang-related and threaten to bring everything down.
Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow by Faiza Gruene, translated from the French by Sarah Adams. Doria is a French teenager of Moroccan descent living in Paradise Gardens-- a Parisian suburban ghetto. Sick of school, sick of the stream of social workers coming to the house, sick of her gossip-y neighbors, Doria's main outlook on life is "kif kif tomorrow" which she translates as "same old shit tomorrow".
Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos. Nadira is just trying to fit in after her family immigrates from Bangladesh to New York. After their visas expire, they're just trying to stay under the radar until they be legal. But after 9/11 her father is arrested and Nadira's just trying to keep it together, but none of the adults in her life will take the time to realize that she's failing.
Everyday Struggles: The Stories of Muslim Teens edited by Sumaiya Beshir. This anthology is made up of stories by Muslim girls, for Muslim girls, about the daily struggles and dramas of regular life.
What are your recommended reads with Muslim characters?
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