Muslim Lives in Fact and Fiction

As promised last week, I’ve compiled a list of books dedicated to the experiences and realities of Muslims living around the world. I’ve also included some nonfiction in case you have questions about Islam as a religion. Having a variety of diverse characters (written by a variety of diverse authors) in the books that we read is So. Important. Everyone deserves to see themselves positively represented in the media surrounding them. It’s also vital for everyone to be able to catch a glimpse outside of their own world. We gain strength and self-esteem by reading positive accounts of our own communities and identities. But, we gain empathy and perspective from reading about others. These are all things that we need if we are to overcome the fear and bigotry that are so pervasive in our current socio-political climate.

Nonfiction:

The American Muslim Teenager's HandbookThe Muslim American Teenagers’ Handbook
By Dilara Hafiz
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A discussion of the basic beliefs and customs of Islam includes responses of questionnaires filled out by modern American Muslim teenagers that show the varied ways they show faith in daily life.

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban
By Malala Yousafzai
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When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education. One day when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Muslims in America
By Anbara Zaidi
Place a hold.
An in-depth look at the Muslim experience in the United States.

American Islam: Growing up Muslim in AmericaAmerican Islam: Growing up Muslim in America
By Richard Wormser
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The author draws on interviews with Muslim teenagers to go beyond the headlines and provides a timely, unbiased look at this important segment of American society.

Muslim Heroes and Holy Places
By Musheen Mansoor
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This book provides brief biographies of a handful of individuals, whose deeds have served as a powerful inspiration for other Muslims. This book also examines the places that Muslims consider sacred, explaining how those sites figure into Islamic history.

Fiction:

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should FeelTell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
By Sara Farizan
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High school junior Leila’s Persian heritage already makes her different from her classmates at Armstead Academy, and if word got out that she liked girls life would be twice as hard, but when a new girl, Saskia, shows up, Leila starts to take risks she never thought she would, especially when it looks as if the attraction between them is mutual, so she struggles to sort out her growing feelings by confiding in her old friends.

I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister
By Amelie Sarn
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Portrait of two Muslim sisters, once closely bonded, but now on divergent paths as one embraces her religion and the other remains secular.

Does My Head Look Big in This?
By Randa Abdel-Fattah
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Year Eleven at an exclusive prep school in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, would be tough enough, but it is further complicated for Amal when she decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time as a badge of her faith–without losing her identity or sense of style.

She Wore Red TrainersShe Wore Red Trainers: A Muslim Love Story
By Na’ima bint Robert
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When Ali first meets Amirah, he notices everything about her – her hijab, her long eyelashes and her red trainers – in the time it takes to have one look, before lowering his gaze. And, although Ali is still coming to terms with the loss of his mother and exploring his identity as a Muslim, and although Amirah has sworn never to get married, they can’t stop thinking about each other. Can Ali and Amirah ever have a halal ‘happily ever after’?

Bestest Ramadan Ever
By Madeia Sharif
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Not allowed to eat from sunrise to sunset during Ramadan and forbidden to date, fifteen-year-old Almira finds that temptation comes in many forms during the Muslim holy month, as she longs to feel like a typical American girl.

Guantanamo Boy
By Anna Perera
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Six months after the events of September 11, 2001, Khalid, a Muslim fifteen-year-old boy from England, is kidnapped during a family trip to Pakistan and imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he is held for two years suffering interrogations, water-boarding, isolation, and more for reasons unknown to him.

Ask Me No QuestionsAsk Me No Questions
By Marina Tamar Budhos
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Fourteen-year-old Nadira, her sister, and their parents leave Bangladesh for New York City, but the expiration of their visas and the events of September 11, 2001, bring frustration, sorrow, and terror for the whole family.

Rebels by Accident
By Patricia Dunn
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Mariam, a troubled teenaged Egyptian American, is sent to live with her grandmother in Cairo where she meets a girl named Asmaa who calls the people of Egypt to protest against their president, and Mariam finds herself in the middle of a revolution and falling in love for the first time.

If You Could Be Mine
By Sara Farizan
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In Iran, where homosexuality is punishable by death, seventeen-year-olds Sahar and Nasrin love each other in secret until Nasrin’s parents announce their daughter’s arranged marriage and Sahar proposes a drastic solution.

Arab in AmericaArab in America
By Toufic El Rassi
Place a hold.
Drawing from his personal history, El Rassi attempts to illustrate the daily prejudice and discrimination experienced by Muslims and Arabs in modern American society. Presented in graphic novel format.

If you have further questions or want more recommendations or just want to talk about some of the books you’ve been reading and hearing, come in to the Vortex.  Reading about people different from you is SO important and sometimes it helps to talk through new information with someone.

Happy Learning!

____

Tara

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