Encouraging Inclusivity: A Selection of Picture Books with Muslim Characters for the Classroom
These books introduce your students to engaging narratives and relatable Muslim characters, helping to cultivate a diverse and inclusive learning environment. Reading books with Muslim characters equips them with empathy and respect for others and helps every child feel seen and understood.
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Picture Books with Muslim Characters in the Classroom
Having a good mix of books in the classroom is important. In a multicultural world, we need to make sure that our classrooms feel like a true slice of our communities.
A big part of that is having books that show characters from various backgrounds and faiths, including Islamic stories. This blog post will look at the importance of picture books with Muslim characters in the classroom.
Why it is Important to Read Picture Books with Muslim Characters
Why must picture books with Muslim stories and characters be included in our classrooms? There are several reasons:
Promotes Empathy and Understanding: As children explore stories featuring characters from all walks of life, they start appreciating various cultures and ways of living. It helps them connect with others, realizing that being different makes us all unique.
Breaks Stereotypes and Prejudices: Exposure to diverse stories helps break down stereotypes and prejudices. It fosters an inclusive environment where children learn to respect and value everyone's unique experiences.
Increases Cultural Awareness: Reading about different cultures and religions can help children become global citizens, aware of the broader world around them.
Questions to Pair with Picture Books with Muslim Characters
Having introduced Muslim stories to your students, you can further enhance the learning experience by encouraging classroom discussion. Here are a few questions that you might pose:
- What did you learn about the Muslim culture from these books?
- How did the characters' experiences make you feel?
- How do these books help you understand people who are different from you?
- What connections can you make to the characters in these stories?
- How are Muslim traditions similar to or different from any traditions you or your family practice?
- How do the characters celebrate Eid-al-Fitr? What are some unique traditions they follow?
- How do giving and charity play a role in the stories you've read? Can you give examples?
- How are family and community depicted in the stories? What connections can you make to this?
- What do the picture books reveal about the spirit of resilience during Ramadan?
- How do the book illustrations enhance your understanding of the Muslim faith and customs?
- Can you share one thing you will remember most about the picture books and why it impacted you?
Recommended Picture Books with Muslim Characters
Each of these picture books with Muslim characters has a unique story to tell and presents real, relatable, and engaging characters. They would make excellent additions to any classroom library.
Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan
Rubina's mother insists she takes her younger sister, Sana, to a birthday party. She is embarrassed by her little sister's behavior at the party, especially when Sana steals a big red lollipop, Rubina's party favor.
Big Red Lollipop helps teach children about sharing, fairness, and forgiveness issues, how to resolve conflicts and get along, even when things don't seem fair.
Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed
Bilal invites his friends to help cook a traditional Daal dish. Amidst his excitement, Bilal worries about his friends' reactions to this cultural experience. Bilal's experiences remind us that sharing our cultural traditions with others can foster understanding, create bonds, and celebrate our unique heritages.
Bilal Cooks Daal promotes discussions on cultural diversity, patience, community building, and making connections.
The Cat Man of Aleppo by Irene Latham & Karim Shamsi-Basha
Alaa, an ambulance driver in war-torn Aleppo, chose to stay and aid the wounded. He began caring for the city's abandoned cats, involving his neighbours. When his deeds gained global attention online, donations poured in, allowing him to create a sanctuary for Aleppo's displaced cats.
The Cat Man of Aleppo sparks conversations on kindness, compassion, and the power of community, even in the face of hardship.
The Colour of Home by Mary Hoffman
Join Hassan as he navigates the complexities of starting a new life in England after fleeing war in Somalia. From feeling lonely and out of place to gradually finding a sense of belonging.
Through Hassan's journey, The Colour of Home inspires discussions on immigration, a sense of community and belonging, resilience, adaptability and creativity. Hassan's journey, filled with challenges and triumphs, highlights adaptability, endurance, and finding a sense of home in unfamiliar places.
Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets by Hena Khan
This is the first of two picture books with Muslim characters by Hena Khan. Explore Islamic architecture and design elements, from the crescent moon symbol commonly seen on mosques to square gardens and octagonal fountains. It introduces geometric concepts and design principles integral to Islamic art.
Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets encourages discussions on cultural diversity, acceptance, and understanding. Presenting Islamic culture through shapes creates a connection between something known and something new.
The Day of Ahmed's Secret by Florence Parry Heide
Ahmed travels Cairo's crowded streets, selling fuel to support his family while carrying a secret—a testament to his perseverance. At day's end, he reveals his accomplishment to his family: he's learned to write his name.
The Day of Ahmed's Secret opens dialogues about perseverance, hard work, the value of education, and self-improvement amidst challenges.