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Lists and Suggestions for Kids

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List: Arab American Heritage Picture Books

A photo of Zara's new Eid dress

Zara's new Eid dress

Zara loves all the festivities of Ramadan and Eid. She enjoys visiting with her friends at the mosque and sampling delicious foods from around the world. But one of her favorite things is shopping for her Eid dress. In past years, she wore similar outfits as her friends from different ethnic backgrounds. This year, she wants something uniquely her own. Zara envisions a dress that represents her heritage and her style, a reflection of her culture as an African American Muslim. This picture book for children shares the story of Azra as she seeks the perfect dress for Eid, while offering insight into her Muslim culture.


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A photo of Ten ways to hear snow

Ten ways to hear snow

Walking to her grandmother's home to help make a very special meal, warak enab, Lina discovers many ways to hear snow, from the scrape of a shovel on a sidewalk to the quiet pats of snowman-building.

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A photo of Deep in the Sahara

Deep in the Sahara

Also available in Overdrive. In Mauritania, West Africa, an Arab girl who wants to wear a malafa, the veiled dress worn by her mother and older sister, learns that the garment represents beauty, mystery, tradition, belonging, and faith.

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A photo of Red shoes

Red shoes

Malika loves her new red shoes and wears them everywhere, but eventually she outgrows them, and her grandmother takes them to a second-hand shop--where they will become a special present for Amina (who fasted half the month of Ramadan) in Africa, who will enjoy her special red shoes every bit as much as Malika did.


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A photo of Amira's picture day

Amira's picture day

Also available in Overdrive. Amira is excited because tomorrow is Eid with special clothes, treats, gifts, and a morning party at her mosque; but then she realizes that she is going to miss class picture day at school, something she was also looking forward to--so Amira has to figure out a way to be in two places at once.


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A photo of Salam alaikum

Salam alaikum

An illustrated song celebrating life and encouraging readers to spread peace on earth. Salam Alaikum or Assalamu Alaikum, means "Peace be upon you." It is the greeting that Muslims around the world use to say "hello" and "good-bye." International music sensation Harris J has taken that greeting and created a call to action. Using the lyrics to the hit song of the same name, and accompanied by heartwarming illustrations that depict the power of paying it forward, this sweet and charming picture book celebrates kindness and community.


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A photo of Weekend dad

Weekend dad

Also available in Hoopla. "This home is home because my dad is here, and it's nothing like home because my mom isn't here," thinks the boy in this story when he enters his dad's new apartment for the first time. His dad moved out on Monday and now it's Friday night, the start of his weekend with his dad. The boy and his dad follow their normal weekend routine -- they eat eggs for breakfast, play cards and spend time at the park. And then they do the same things on Sunday. It is hard to say goodbye at the end of the weekend, but Dad gives his son a letter to remind him that, even if they can't always be together, the boy is loved. Naseem Hrab has written a poignant yet hopeful story, strikingly illustrated in Frank Viva's signature style, about what happens when parents separate, and the new reality of having two homes."--


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A photo of What color is my hijab?

What color is my hijab?

A young girl considers the women she knows and the various colors of the hijab they wear. Muslim women have many varied jobs and wear their hijab as they work. She wants to be like them. The hijab becomes a crowning touch for her--a representation of faith, identity, and fashion.

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A photo of Under my hijab

Under my hijab

As a young girl observes that each of six women in her life wears her hijab and hair in a different way, she considers how to express her own style one day.

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A photo of Saffron ice cream

Saffron ice cream

Rashin is an Iranian immigrant girl living in New York, excited by her first trip to Coney Island, and fascinated by the differences in the beach customs between her native Iran and her new home--but she misses the saffron flavored ice cream that she used to eat.

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A photo of The gift of Ramadan

The gift of Ramadan

Also available in Hoopla. Sophie tries to fast for Ramadan for the first time, but her grumbling stomach and her little brother's cookies are too much and she must find a different way to celebrate.

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A photo of The perfect gift

The perfect gift

Sarah is sad because she cannot find an Eid gift for her mother, so she takes a walk along the secret path in the woods that always makes her feel better. There she finds the first flower of spring--God's perfect gift to the world. Leaving her gift in its place to share with her entire family, Sarah grows in her understanding and appreciation of nature and what it means to live in submission to God.


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A photo of A sweet meeting on Mimouna night

A sweet meeting on Mimouna night

Also available in Hoopla. "In this beautiful picture book about the Jewish holiday Mimouna, Miriam can't wait to make the traditional holiday pancakes, moufleta. Miriam's neighbour Jasmine, who is Muslim, shares a sack of flour to make the delicious treat, and the new friends celebrate the holiday together. "--


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A photo of Salma the Syrian chef

Salma the Syrian chef

Also available in Overdrive and Hoopla. "Newcomer Salma and friends cook up a heartwarming dish to cheer up Mama. All Salma wants is to make her mama smile again. Between English classes, job interviews, and missing Papa back in Syria, Mama always seems busy or sad. A homemade Syrian meal might cheer her up, but Salma doesn't know the recipe, or what to call the vegetables in English, or where to find the right spices! Luckily, the staff and other newcomers at the Welcome Center are happy to lend a hand--and a sprinkle of sumac. With creativity, determination, and charm, Salma brings her new friends together to show Mama that even though things aren't perfect, there is cause for hope and celebration. Syrian culture is beautifully represented through the meal Salma prepares and Anna Bron's vibrant illustrations, while the diverse cast of characters speaks to the power of cultivating community in challenging circumstances."--


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A photo of Zayde comes to live

Zayde comes to live

When Rachel's beloved grandfather, Zayde, comes to spend his last days with her family, she worries what will happen when he dies, especially after friends tell her the Christian and Muslim beliefs about the afterlife.

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A photo of Mommy's khimar

Mommy's khimar

Also available in Hoopla. A young Muslim girl puts on a head scarf and not only feels closer to her mother, she also imagines herself as a queen, the sun, a superhero, and more.

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A photo of A moon for Moe and Mo

A moon for Moe and Mo

Also available in Hoopla. Moses Feldman and Mohammed Hassan both live on Flatbush Avenue, but when they meet at the grocery store they quickly become best friends, sharing a picnic while their families prepare for the holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Ramadan.

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A photo of The elephant from Baghdad

The elephant from Baghdad

Relates the story, told by a monk named Notker the Stammerer, of how the Emperor Charlemagne sent an ambassador to Baghdad, the center of the Muslim world, to learn about the great ruler in the East, Haroun al Rashid. Includes notes on the factual basis of the story.

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A photo of The camel in the sun

The camel in the sun

Inspired by the retelling of a traditional Muslim hadith, an account of the words or actions of the Prophet, which the author first heard in Sri Lanka, this is an unforgettable story about empathy.

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A photo of Muslim girls rise : inspirational champions of our time

Muslim girls rise : inspirational champions of our time

This picture book introduces readers to nineteen powerhouse Muslim women who rose up and made their voices heard. Long ago, Muslim women rode into battle to defend their dreams. They opened the doors to the world's oldest library. They ruled, started movements, and spread knowledge. Today, Muslim women continue to make history. Once upon a time, they were children with dreams, just like you. Discover the true stories of nineteen unstoppable Muslim women of the twenty-first century who have risen above challenges, doubts, and sometimes outright hostility to blaze trails in a wide range of fields. Whether it was the culinary arts, fashion, sports, government, science, entertainment, education, or activism, these women never took "no" for an answer, or allowed themselves to be silenced. Instead, they worked to rise above and not only achieve their dreams, but become influential leaders.


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