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Children’s Books That Celebrate Muslim Culture

by the Brightly Editors

Whether you’re from a Muslim family looking for more representation in children’s literature, or a teacher or parent of non-Muslim children wanting to better understand and celebrate Muslim culture, there are so many wonderful storytellers in the kids’ lit community who have contributed to essential, diverse narratives that pay homage to the rich history and vibrant present of this community.

We’ve rounded up some of our favorite children’s books that feature Muslim protagonists, celebrate Muslim culture, and illustrate Islamic traditions – perfect for reading during Ramadan, Eid, and all year long.

  • The Best Eid Ever

    by Asma Mobin Uddin, illustrated by Laura Jacobsen

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    Though her parents are far away for the Hajj pilgrimage, Aneesa is looking forward to celebrating the three days of Eid with her Nonni, who made Aneesa three beautiful outfits for the holiday. When she meets two sisters at the prayer hall whose clothes are drab and ill-fitting and learns that they are refugees, Aneesa comes up with a wonderful plan to spread the generous spirit of Eid.
    (Ages 2 – 5)

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  • My Name Is Bilal

    by Asma Mobin-Uddin, illustrated by Barbara Kiwak

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    On their first day at a new school where they might be the only Muslim students, Bilal sees his sister, Ayesha, being teased by bullies. In an effort to pass by unnoticed, he decides to tell his classmates his name is Bill. Fortunately for Bilal and Ayesha, there is a Muslim teacher at school, Mr. Ali, who lends Bilal a book that changes how Bilal feels about his identity. A wonderful read for those in Bilal and Ayesha’s shoes (and a lesson in inclusion for others), this heartening story is an important reminder that we should take pride in who we are.
    (Ages 2 – 5)

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  • My Grandma and Me

    by Mina Javaherbin

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    This exquisitely illustrated picture book captures the love between Mina, a young girl growing up in Iran, and her grandmother, whom Mina follows everywhere. Through the little joys of their everyday lives and practice of Islam, and through the love that Mina’s two grandmothers — one Muslim, one Christian — have for each other, readers are gifted a heartwarming portrait of family ties and universal love.
    (Ages 4 – 8)

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  • Big Red Lollipop

    by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophia Blackall

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    The good news: Rubina’s going to her first birthday party! The bad news: Rubina’s mother insists that she take her little sister Sana along — even though Rubina knows that’s not how her Western classmates do birthday parties. As Rubina feared, Sana is a little-sister terror, and Rubina’s classmates aren’t pleased. But hang tight for a sweet and redemptive story arc, from the author who admits she played the role of Sana in her own childhood.
    (Ages 4 – 8)

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  • Deep in the Sahara

    by Kelly Cunnane, illustrated by Hoda Hadadi

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    Deep in the Sahara, in the country of Mauritania, young Lalla dreams of the day when she, too, will get to wear the malafa, just like her mother and older sister. But first, Lalla must understand the true meaning behind the malafa: the garment is not only a beautiful tradition but a part of her faith. When the time is right, Lalla’s mother has the loveliest malafa waiting for her.
    (Ages 4 – 8)

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  • A Party in Ramadan

    by Asma Mobin-Uddin, illustrated by Laura Jacobsen

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    When Leena attends a party during the holy month of Ramadan, she plans to keep her fast and then join her family for a delicious iftar, the post-sunset meal that breaks their daily fast. But at the party, all of Leena’s friends are eating and drinking treats, and Leena’s tummy starts to ache. This upbeat and realistic read follows a young girl negotiating her differences with peers and highlights what Ramadan is all about – spiritual reflection, doing charitable deeds, and spending time with loved ones.
    (Ages 7 – 9)

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  • The White Nights of Ramadan

    by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gannon

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    During the month of Ramadan in the Arabian Gulf, Muslim families celebrate Girgian, or Mid-Ramadan: the three days surrounding the full moon. Children dress in traditional garb and go from house to house, collecting treats. Noor narrates this story, which gives a fun peek into holiday traditions and remains focused on the family and charity aspects of Ramadan. For more by author Maha Addasi, look to Time to Pray, an endearing picture book about the call to prayer.
    (Ages 7 – 9)

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  • Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet

    by Zanib Mian, illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik

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    The first book in a new illustrated chapter book series, Omar is the new kid at school, and he is not at all excited about it. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?! But despite his imaginative spirit, the reality of his Big Mean Bully is no fun to deal with — particularly the bully’s anti-Islam sentiments. Thanks to his family, Omar overcomes — asserting himself as a new middle grade literary hero.

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  • The Night Diary

    by Veera Hiranandani

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    In this Newbery Honor Book set during the 1947 Partition of India, Veera Hiranandani tells the story of Nisha, as she reckons with her identity and losing her homeland. Twelve-year-old Nisha is half-Muslim, half-Hindu, which makes things particularly complicated when her newly independent homeland divides between Pakistan and India, Muslim and Hindu. Overnight, Nisha’s family become refugees, and through letters to her departed mother, Nisha explores her hope, heartbreak, and search for a home.
    (Ages 8 – 12)

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  • Amal Unbound

    by Aisha Saeed

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    In this richly crafted, bestselling novel, readers follow the ambitious and artistic 12-year-old Amal, who dreams of one day being a teacher but finds herself forced into indentured servitude for the Khan family, who controls her Pakistani village. In an act of resistance, Amal works with her fellow servants to win back their freedom. Suspenseful and emotional, this powerful middle grade novel underscores the importance of family, literacy, and community.
    (Ages 10+)

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  • The Green Bicycle

    by Haifaa al Mansour

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    The mischievous and headstrong Wadjda has a plan: if she can sell enough handmade bracelets and banned-music mixtapes to her peers, she can finally buy a bicycle and race her friend Abdullah. There’s just one problem – in Wadjda’s Saudi Arabia, constrictive gender norms forbid girls from riding bikes. But feisty and optimistic Wadjda won’t quit so easily to change minds and hearts.
    (Ages 10+)

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