Saturday, December 30, 2017

The BIG End of the Year Book List: Islamic Fiction Edition 2017

 It's the end of 2017 and it is time to roll out The Big End of the Year Book List: Islamic Fiction Edition! I love curating this list not just because I get to shout out some of the best Muslim authors, but also because I get to shine some light on books that might not have received a lot of publicity but they are real gems that deserved to be read and cherished. Needless to say, I enjoy supporting Muslim authors! They are the griots of our communities and ultimately their stories are our stories! So Alhamduleelah for 2017, the good of it and the trials from it as well! Congratulations to the 2017 new authors! Don't stop writing and telling our stories. And as always, if I didn't get all of the Islamic fiction books from 2017,  send me an email! I'll add you to the list!

1. Beneath Her Headscarf by Tohib Adejumo
After debuting as an online series which was read by over twenty thousand people, Beneath Her Headscarf (Khimar) by popular demand was decided to be published to retain its rightful status as a classic in the genre of Muslim fiction, and a must have in any Muslim home. When Ruqoyah met her friend, Aa’siyah at a convenient store again after a couple of years, she was partly happy and partly sad. Their friendship reminded her of a past she would rather forget but also stroke out a light path in her to manage the darkness of her suffocating matrimony. In this story of religious, emotional and spiritual conflicts, Ruqoyah will have to face her haunting past, and deal with it, without losing her family, friends, herself, and most importantly her relationship with Allah.

2. Amina's Voice by Hena KhanA Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

3. The Blessed Bananas: A Muslim Fable by Tayyaba Syed

Everyone in the village knows not to come near the cranky, old monkey Rico or his precious bananas. However, after some unwanted encounters, Rico learns a life-changing lesson. Find out how in this heart-warming tale of friendship, kindness and the power of prayer. Age range: 3-8 Grade level: Preschool-2nd

4. An Acquaintance by Saba Syed 

 An exciting story of a smart, driven young Muslim girl living in small town America who falls for the new guy at her high school. Family and friends misunderstand their developing relationship and Sarah struggles to be faithful to her moral code. As rumors of miscoduct cresando throughout the school year, what will become of their mere acquaintance...or is it more?

5. Saints and Misfits by S.K Ali
Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life...starring a Muslim teen. There are three kinds of people in my world: 1. Saints, those special people moving the world forward. Sometimes you glaze over them. Or, at least, I do. They're in your face so much, you can't see them, like how you can't see your nose. 2. Misfits, people who don't belong. Like me--the way I don't fit into Dad's brand-new family or in the leftover one composed of Mom and my older brother, Mama's-Boy-Muhammad. Also, there's Jeremy and me. Misfits. Because although, alliteratively speaking, Janna and Jeremy sound good together, we don't go together. Same planet, different worlds. But sometimes worlds collide and beautiful things happen, right? 3. Monsters. Well, monsters wearing saint masks, like in Flannery O'Connor's stories. Like the monster at my mosque. People think he's holy, untouchable, but nobody has seen under the mask. Except me.

6. Mommy's Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow    A young Muslim girl spends a busy day wrapped up in her mother’s colorful headscarf in this sweet andfanciful picture book from debut author and illustrator Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn. A khimar is a flowing scarf that my mommy wears. Before she walks out the door each day, she wraps one around her head. A young girl plays dress up with her mother’s headscarves, feeling her mother’s love with every one she tries on. Charming and vibrant illustrations showcase the beauty of the diverse and welcoming community in this portrait of a young Muslim American girl’s life.
Written as a letter from a father to his daughter, Yo Soy Muslim is a celebration of social harmony and multicultural identities. The vivid and elegant verse, accompanied by magical and vibrant illustrations, highlights the diversity of the Muslim community as well as Indigenous identity. A literary journey of discovery and wonder, Yo Soy Muslim is sure to inspire adults and children alike.

8. What Am I? by Papatia Feauxzar

When Nouredine goes to his first day of school at Fitra Pre-School, his joy is crushed when one of his schoolmates asked, ‘What are you?’ and mockeries ensued. He turns to his parents for an answer which satisfies him. This book uses a theist approach to discuss race issues with biracial children from Black and White parents. We can all agree that the 'What Race Are You?' is an inevitable question biracial and mixed race children will face at least once in their lives if not permanently. Nouredine's father is an American citizen originally from the Balkans. His mother is also a US citizen originally from West Africa. Nouredine is American and was born in Texas. Depending on how the reader looks at it, Nouredine can be considered African-American, biracial or multi-racial

9. Tight Rope by Sahar Abdulaziz 
The only good Muslim is a dead Muslim … In a socially and politically divided country after the presidential election, activist and American Muslim Nour Ibrahim prepares to deliver a speech at an anti-hate rally condemning the surge of attacks against people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and anyone else deemed different or disposable. As her inbox overflows with racist, xenophobic threats, she struggles to remain focused, refusing to give in to the fear. Concerns for her safety during the speech mount as one ruthless stalker escalates his terror campaign. Bitter and blinded by hate, he’s not satisfied with merely keeping Nour from speaking out: he threatens to silence her for good. Stressed by the impending rally, a stabbing pain in her gut, and an Internet psycho who has her in his crosshairs, Nour begins to wonder—which one will kill her first? Author of As One Door Closes, The Broken Half, Secrets That Find Us, and But You LOOK Just Fine, native born American Muslim author Sahar Abdulaziz uses her writing platform and voice to advocate for the underrepresented and marginalized. Her multidimensional characters have been described as having “substance and soul.”

10. Little Blue Skater Boy by Shoohada Khanom 

When Isa is asked to take biriyani to his Nanni's house, some one decides to jump out at him and then tag along. A re-telling of 'Little Red Riding Hood' with many twists.

11. Reverencing The Wombs That Broke You by Umm Zakiyyah
Her mother was raped. This is how Melanie was born. For years, the sight of Melanie's face reminded her mother of the sexual assault, so Melanie herself was verbally and physically abused through childhood. But Melanie's obligation was to love and honor her mother, she told herself. This is what Melanie believed as a Christian, and it's what she believed even more so after converting to Islam. In the Qur'an, God commanded, "Reverence the wombs that bore you." But what if those wombs broke you, and incited deep emotional trauma? What then? In this groundbreaking book about healing from family abuse, internationally acclaimed author Umm Zakiyyah shares the true story of Melanie Davidson, a daughter of rape and abuse, whose commitment to family and self-healing offers lessons to us all. Each glimpse into Melanie's life is followed by powerful commentary inspired by the words of mental health professionals, the teachings of divine texts, and the experiences of abuse survivors themselves.

12. The Gauntlet by Karuna Riaza
A trio of friends from New York City find themselves trapped inside a mechanical board game that they must dismantle in order to save themselves and generations of other children in this action-packed debut that’s a steampunk Jumanji with a Middle Eastern flair.

13. Game Over by Anwar Diggins

Does your child play video games all the time? Game Over, Life Outside of Video Games Chronicles the experiences of 11 year old Anwar Diggins after his video games were taken away. Game Over encourages children to play outside, spend time with family and find things to do outside of games. A must read for the gamer in your life. Written by 13 year old Anwar Diggins.

14. There is Greatness in Me by Ameenah Diggins
A must read book for all children. There is Greatness in me. Written by mother daughter team Ameenah Muhammad-Diggins and Amaya Diggins. Forward by Maryum "May May" Ali. This is a powerful book because it teaches you how to use positive self-talk. Positive self-talk is when you say good things about yourself to yourself. This kind of talk can give you more confidence and motivate you to be the person you want to be. Loving who you are and believing in your abilities can also help you achieve your goals and your dreams. Many of the most successful people in the world have used positive self-talk, and it is important for you to learn how to speak this way too.

15. Jennah's First Hijab by Halimah A. Deoliveira

 Join nine-year old Jennah on her very first adventure where she discovers the world of Hijab. Also learn some interesting facts from Jennah about why girls and women wear hijab.

16. My Special Angels: The Two Noble Scribes by Razana Noor
Beside every person's shoulder, there are two angels. Muslims know them as the Kiraman Katibin (the noble scribes). They write down every deed, good and bad, from a person's first day to their last. Inside this book you will find out all about them, and how to turn those bad deeds into good ones, with a lovable and cheeky young boy. Did you know that two special angels write down your every action, from the day you were born?

17. Ramadan Without Daddy by Misbah Akhtar

The concept of Divorce is very challenging for young children. This book is based around a Muslim family and the story of young Khadija helping her mother and brother. The story gives many opportunities for positive discussion for parents and educators wanting to explore this difficult concept with balanced sensitivity from an Islamic perspective.

18. Muhiima's Quest by Rahma Rodaah

Although her family does not celebrate birthdays, Muhiima wakes on the morning of her 10th birthday to an unusual surprise. Her mother gives her a carefully drawn map with instructions not to ask questions, but to simply follow the map. Muhiima sets off on her bicycle to begin a quest that will take her all around town. At each destination on the map she is gifted with an important message and a mysterious little box. Travel with Muhiima on her journey and discover how the pieces of this puzzle come together. Muhiima’s Quest is a story of self-discovery and a celebration of diversity with the message that our heritage and faith are what make us unique and special.

19. The Project by George Green

The Project is the story of Ibrahim and his friends, who are determined to work together as a team to win first prize at their school science fair. However, Yasin decides to make an effort to complete the project alone. This is a story of how much more can be achieved as part of a team than individually and the unexpected rewards that teamwork can deliver. The Project, the second book from 'Childhood Champions', a series of stories about a group of Muslim children in New York City and their daily adventures.

20.  Fatima Makes the Bread by Adeola Little 

Empowering! Funny! Adventurous! Spiritual! Positive! Beautiful! When Fatima's mommy wakes up one morning feeling sick, she asks her 7 year old daughter Fatima to make the bread for the family. It is a daunting task- Fatima has never made the bread alone before. Despite many challenges Fatima relies on her spirituality and her big brother to help get the job done. "Fatima Makes the Bread" provides opportunities to be silly, to laugh, to teach, and to be reminded of the inner strength that we all possess. The tale features strong male and female characters and is set in Mali, Africa.

21. Zaynab's Enchanted Scarf by Robyn Abdusamad 

Zaynab’s Enchanted Scarf teaches young readers about the historical contributions of Africans and African-Americans with beautiful illustrations that reflect the modernization of today as well as the past. Join Zaynab on a magical trip where she finds the courage and strength to find her way home.  In this book, which is part of a series, little Zaynab travels to Africa to meet Queen Amina, Mansa Musa and Egyptian Royalty Ramses and Nefertiti.   

The trials and triumphs of young girls can be both difficult and amazing.  The girls in the town of Tinselee face highs and lows of life, all while learning from each situation.  Life as a pre-teen and teenage girl is a myriad of experiences that include issues with self-esteem, confidence, and self-worth, but include cherished moments like gaining friends, achieving goals, and learning more about self.  Many times, young girls feel alone or as if no one understands what they are going through.  "Muslim + Girl + Life" explores the world of a group of girls who, in a variety of ways, overcome life's hurdles and are drawn to a spiritual path where they learn more about themselves and each other.

23. Yaffa and Fatima, Shalom Salam by Fawzia Gilani-Williams 

Two neighbors--one Jewish, one Muslim--have always been best friends. When they both fall on hard times, can they find a way to help each other? In Fawzia Gilani's retelling of this folktale--which has both Jewish and Arab origins--differences are not always causes for conflict and friendship can overcome any obstacle.

                                                                                                                   24.  The Muslims by Zanib Mian

Omar is a kid with a huge imagination. He knows a thing or two about getting through life as a nine year old Muslim in Britain. When Omar's life is turned upside down as he moves to a new school and becomes the school bully's new victim, his imagination goes into overactive mode. He attempts to apply the Islamic teachings his family have equipped him with, to his now very challenging life, with entertaining results!  The story unfolds with comic craziness as Omar learns to get comfortable with both his British, and Muslim heritage. This book is laugh-out-loud funny. It will have every kid giggling with familiarity! It also provides a window into the lives of an average Muslim family for those wishing to learn about other cultures.

25. The Muslims: A Graphic Novel by Ahmad Phillips

The Muslims is about 2 kids, Hani and Huda, and the lessons they learn through everyday life. Each chapter tackles different moral issues such as stealing, sharing, being grateful and much more. Join Hani and Huda as they learn different aspects of Islam through their own life experiences.

26. Tried & Tested by Umm Juwayriyah
A teenage Iman Johnson left home over a decade ago to follow behind a steet loving hustler who promised her the world. When that world became too much for her to endure, mentally and physically, she found herself back in Pittsburgh, PA at her Muslim mother’s doorstep seeking refuge. But will the Muslim family and community that she’d turned her back on years ago be ready to finally accept her or has too much time, emotions, hurt, and secrets built up between them to overcome? Iman will have to find the strength to face her past and relearn the basics if she ever hopes to find the sweetness of faith Allah promises …

On sale for $3.99

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