There are an increasing number of picture books with Muslim characters. These books illustrate both the routine and special experiences of Muslim children.
Empowering Picture Books with Muslim Characters
These picture books with Muslim children as the main characters are a great way for children to see themselves represented in books and for others to learn about a new culture.
Many of these picture books feature characters who wear the hijab and celebrate Muslim festivals with their families. They help to promote understanding and respect for Muslim culture and provide children with positive representations.
Picture books are a great way to introduce young children to new concepts and cultures. For Muslim children, picture books with Muslim protagonists can help them see themselves represented in the stories they read. In addition, these books help to create an inclusive classroom environment.
There are many picture books with Muslim protagonists that celebrate the holidays of Ramadan and Eid. These books can help children understand and appreciate the customs and traditions of Islam. In addition, picture books illustrating the wearing of the hijab are a helpful tool for teaching about religious diversity.
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Picture Books with Muslim Protagonists
The Best Eid Ever by Asma Mobin-Uddin
This is the first of two picture books with lead Muslim characters by Asma Mobin-Uddin. Aneesa's Nonni gives her three outfits, one for each day of Eid. At her local Mosque, she meets two refugee sisters wearing ill-fitting clothes.
Aneesa wonders what Eid must be like for them after leaving their homes to move to America. Aneesa comes up with a plan to help the sisters have the best Eid ever.
The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman
When Hassan and his family are forced to move to England because of war, he feels lonely and out of place. He finds his new environment cold and grey compared to his colourful life in Somalia. Hassan feels more settled as he makes new friends and begins to appreciate the colours of his new home.
Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets by Helen Khan
This is the first of two picture books with lead Muslim characters by Hena Khan. Celebrate the traditions and shapes of the Islamic world. Explore the crescent moon, a square garden and an octagonal fountain, among others.
The Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry Heide
Ahmed lives in bustling Cairo and he has a secret, but before he can share it he travels through the city with his donkey and cart selling fuel. After a long, busy day he proudly shows his family how he can now write his own name. Use to discuss hard work while overcoming adversity.
Deep In The Sahara by Kelly Cunnane
In Mauritania, young Lalla wishes to wear a malafa like her mother and older sister. In the Muslim tradition, women wear colourful material over their heads and clothes. When Lalla learns a malafa is not only beautiful but honours her faith, her mother wraps one around her body.
Drummer Girl by Hiba Masood
Najma dreams of being a musaharati, the drummer who wakes families in her Turkish village for the pre-dawn meal during Ramadan. No girl has ever taken on this role and Najma has to show determination and self-belief to follow her dreams.
The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lumbard
Sophie is disappointed with herself when she breaks her first Ramadan fast. Her grandmother and mother explain the meaning of Ramadan and that there are different expectations for different age groups. She learns she can earn blessings in various ways.
Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan
A young girl uses colours to describe the important traditions of her Muslim faith. Hena Khan uses Arabic vocabulary throughout the rhyming text to describe the customs and beauty of Islam.
In My Mosque by M. O. Yuksel
Everyone is welcome at the mosque, no matter who you are. It is a place of worship but also a place to find friendship, community and love. The book also has educational material about holy sites and mosques worldwide.
Read to promote discussions on spirituality, places of worship, and community.
Journey of the Midnight Sun by Shazia Afzal
Different work together and come together to move the Midnight Sun Mosque to Inuvik in Canada's Arctic for a small, growing Muslim community. The mosque travels over 4,000 kilometres through narrow roads, bad weather and incomplete bridges. It only just makes the deadline to catch the last barge up the Mackenzie River before it freezes.
Lost and Found Cat by Doug Kuntz
An Iraqi family fleeing their home carries their cat, Kunkus. The frightened cat escapes on a boat to Greece, leaving the family brokenhearted. When aid workers in Greece find the cat, they put out a worldwide appeal to find its family. This true story has a happy ending.
Malala: Activist for Girls' Education by Raphaele Frier
When fifteen-year-old Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban for her right, and that of all girls, to an education, they tried to kill her. Her injuries didn’t stop her activism, and she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her inspiring work.
My Grandma and Me by Mina Javaherbin
Growing up in Iran, Mina does everything with her grandmother. They go to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, visit their Christain neighbours and take imaginary trips together.
My Name is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin
This is the second of two picture books with lead Muslim characters by Asma Mobin-Uddin. When Bilal moves he worries about being teased for being Muslim. He thinks about telling his new classmates he is called Bill and not telling them about his religion.
A Muslim teacher helps Bilal and his sister settle in by giving them a book about Bilal Ibn Rabah, another Bilal who struggled with his identity.
Nadia's Hands by Karen English
Nadia gets her hands decorated with mehndi designs, a tradition at a Pakistani wedding. As the henna designs won’t wash off straight away, she wonders how her classmates will react. But in her role as a flower girl, she understands more about her Pakistani culture and can’t wait to show off her hands at school.
Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan
A young Pakistani-American girl, Yasmeen, celebrates the month-long celebration of Ramadan with her family. She tells us about the special events and food involved, along with gifts, parties and visiting relatives. Presented from a child's perspective.
Read to promote discussions on Ramadan, celebrations, and traditions.
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad
On the first day of school, sisters, Asiya and Faizah walk hand in hand. Asiya is wearing a hijab for the first time, representing being strong. Faizah admires her sister's beautiful blue scarf but hears other children making fun of her. The sisters follow their mother's advice about being strong and true to themselves in the face of bullying.
Ramadan Moon by Na'ima B. Robert
Celebrate Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr through the eyes of a Muslim child. Witness the fasting, the changing of the moon and the joyful celebrations of Eid.
Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education by Elizabeth Suneby
A young girl and her fox friend have to leave their home. They travel through powerful storms, rough seas and over hazardous mountains. Their long
Under My Hijab by Hena Khan
This is the second of two picture books with lead Muslim characters by Hena Khan. Under My Hijab illustrates the cultural and religious importance of the hijab through the eyes of a young girl.
She watches how the contemporary Muslim women in her family wear their hijab in different ways. She dreams about her own future and all the ways she can express herself through her hijab.
Under the Ramadan Moon by Sylvia Whitman
A family wait for the Ramadan moon, one of the most special times in the Islamic year. The family pray, fast, read the Quran and give to the poor under this special moon.
The World Is Not a Rectangle: A Portrait of Architect Zaha Hadid by Jeanette Winter
Born in Iraq, Zaha Hadid dreamed of designing great cities. Moving to London, she trained as an architect and started to design buildings. She overcame many difficulties, including the fact she was Muslim and a woman. Her legacy lives on in her buildings, inspired by nature, around the world.
Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter by Mark Gonzales
A father writes a poetic letter to his daughter encouraging her to embrace her identity. He shares the significance of their Muslim faith and lets her know it’s okay if some people don’t understand her.
Your Name Is a Song by J Thompkins-Bigelow
A young girl leaves school frustrated after a day of her classmates and teacher mispronouncing her name. On their walk home she tells her mother she doesn’t want to go back, who in turn tells her daughter “your name is a song.” She returns to school empowered and shares what she has learned.
Zahra's Blessing: A Ramadan Story by Shirin Shamsi
Zahra prays that Ramadan will bring her family a longed-for sister. She volunteers at the local shelter for asylum seekers, where she befriends a young, displaced girl. Zahra finds a sense of gratitude and a surprise blessing she didn't imagine.
What are your favourite picture books with Muslim protagonists to read to your students? Let me know in the comments.