Once upon a time ago…
Little freshman me walked into high school for the first time, terrified of the four years to come and excited to begin another journey. The first place I went to check out was the library and I began going through the shelves, caressing the books that would accompany me through stressful weeks.
Suddenly, something on the cover of a book got me by surprise. I pulled the book out of the shelf and saw that a girl in hijab adorned the cover. Immediately, I checked out every book by the author.
That was the year I learned that there was such a thing as hijabi characters in books. And, nothing has been better for my self esteem as a Muslim female teenager.
Goodness, there are books with characters that look like me!
So, with that story I bring to you an announcement. On Feburary, 1st of every year is a day called World Hijab Day.
That day is dedicated to not only celebrating the hijab and the women who wear them, but also teaching the meaning behind the hijab and letting others try them on.
You can find videos about World Hijab Day events on YouTube. Here are some recommendations 🙂
Today, I’ll tell you about some books with Muslim hijabi characters and then I have some stories about inspirational hijabi females in my life.
Books With Hijabi Characters
- Ten Things I hate about me by Randa Abdel-Fattah
- Does my head look big in this by Randa Abdel-Fattah
- She wore red trainers by Na’ima B. Roberts
- Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali
Ten Things I Hate About Me
At school I’m Aussie-blonde Jamie — one of the crowd. At home I’m Muslim Jamilah — driven mad by my Stone Age dad. I should win an Oscar for my acting skills. But I can’t keep it up for much longer…
Jamie just wants to fit in. She doesn’t want to be seen as a stereotypical Muslim girl, so she does everything possible to hide that part of herself. Even if it means pushing her friends away because she’s afraid to let them know her dad forbids her from hanging out with boys or that she secretly loves to play the darabuka (Arabic drums).
Does My Head Look Big In This?
When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth…
Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.
Can she handle the taunts of “towel head,” the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.
- IT’S A FLIPPING MUSLIM HIJABI CHARACTER! *fangirl flail flail flail*
- Yeah, and I remember nothing much besides the fact that they were both delicious to devour and I liked it a lot so go read it
- What? I was in 9th grade then and it’s been 2 years later
- I can barely remember what I ate 5 minutes ago
- Ok, don’t hold it against me
She Wore Red Trainers
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”?
- It’s halal (allowed) romance!! IN A YA BOOK! SAY WHAT NOW??
- I’m surprised that I found in my public library over this summer
- The romance was slightly cliched and rushed. I wanted it to last longer!
- I don’t remember much but here I go
- So, Ali used to have a bad reputation before his mother died because he used to not practice his faith
- But, he reevaluates his life and starts practicing again
- His young brother has trouble coping with their mother’s death. Having to move again makes the matters worse
- The new place they move to has Amira
- Amira also had a not so good past as well, because she used to hang out with what my parents call the “bad” crowd.
- But, she as well is practicing again
- Normal teenage crush proceeds to occur
- Now, I’m all for halal romance and I know that it’s awkward to write a Muslim romance while trying not to mess things up, THE PLOT WAS TOO FAST! HOW DID THEY GET MARRIED SO FAST? THEY BARELY KNEW EACH OTHER!
- However, it was an absolutely delicious short read with correct, adorable representation that had me squealing at the end ♥
- There’s a ton of stuff that also happens BUT YOU MUST READ IT YOURSELF TO FIND OUT. GO GO GO!
Saints and Misfits
Saints and Misfits is an unforgettable debut novel that feels like a modern day My So-Called Life…starring a Muslim teen.
How much can you tell about a person just by looking at them?
Janna Yusuf knows a lot of people can’t figure out what to make of her…an Arab Indian-American hijabi teenager who is a Flannery O’Connor obsessed book nerd, aspiring photographer, and sometime graphic novelist is not exactly easy to put into a box.
And Janna suddenly finds herself caring what people think. Or at least what a certain boy named Jeremy thinks. Not that she would ever date him—Muslim girls don’t date. Or they shouldn’t date. Or won’t? Janna is still working all this out.
While her heart might be leading her in one direction, her mind is spinning in others. She is trying to decide what kind of person she wants to be, and what it means to be a saint, a misfit, or a monster. Except she knows a monster…one who happens to be parading around as a saint…Will she be the one to call him out on it? What will people in her tightknit Muslim community think of her then?
- HOLY CHEESE CRACKERS IT’S ANOTHER MODERN MUSLIM CHARACTER WITH
- wait for it
- H I J A B
- I love Janna ♥
- THE HALAL CUTENESS THAT IS HER OLDER BROTHER AND HIS CRUSH *flap*
- I love the theme of sexual harassment that is addressed in this book
- Oh, and I ABSOLUTELY DESPISE FAROOQ. (I want him dead, please and thank you)
- IT HAS REAL MUSLIM LIFE REPRESENTATION WITH THE MOSQUE AND THE PRAYERS, HALAL DATING BEFORE MARRIAGE WITH CHAPERONES
- IT HAS IT ALL!!
- I love that it showed that Janna had a crush on a non-muslim guy. It might be a surprise to yall, but I’ve done it too. Yes, I’ve had crushes on non-muslim guys.
- SAUSUN AND NAUH AND OH MY GOODNESS I JUST WANT YOU TO MEET THEM ALL
- GO READ THE BOOK
- Then come back and flail with me ♥
Also, I wrote a review of it as soon as I finished reading it. I stayed up all night reading it btw because it was too good to put down. Yep, it’s one of those books 🙂
Check out the review @ here
Inspirational Hijabi Muslims
- Stephanie Kurlow
So, Stephanie and her family converted to Islam in 2010. Even though she was a ballerina since she was 2 years old, she gave it up with the belief that it would clash with her faith. In 2015, she began again while wearing the hijab.
She is inspirational to me because she’s the same age as me and she’s the first Hijabi Ballerina. I love that she doesn’t feel like her faith holds her back from anything. She worked hard to get better at what she loves and she gives me courage by showing that someone as young as we are can do something different that could pave new pathways for the future.
I actually became obsessed with ballet last summer because of her and I kinda gave up because I suck at it, but I still do pirouettes in the living room.
Also, I’ve been stalking her Instagram since 2016. So, you may now too.
First off, I need to explain what the niqab is. The niqab is where one covers not only the head, but the face as well. Sometimes, someone who is a niqabi might also cover their hands with gloves.
- She wears niqab while being a molecular geneticist who works at an NHS cancer diagnostics lab in a hospital
- She is a community leader with Citizen UK( community organization)
- She holds an executive position on the Muslim Council of Britain
- She goes skydiving 5 times a year (I’ve been wanting to do this for sooo long)
She faced a lot of criticism and hatred for choosing to wear the niqab during the UK Burka Ban.
She is inspirational to me because not only is she educated in her faith, but she strives to improve the life quality of cancer patients. I mean, even when shes got such hatred for her personal choices, she responded so elegantly and intelligent articulated the way that she spoke. I’ve found a new role model, guys! She makes me believe that yes, as a Muslim girl I too can do something to change the world, whatever it may be and that I can do so while maintaining my hijab.
Here is an interview she had
All in all, I have a lot more women to put on here but I think Stephanie and Sahar will do for now.
The number of books with correctly represented Muslim females are too few so I hope that one day the books I write will lengthen it ♥
Happy World Hijab Day! So, what did you think of this post? Any other books you know of with hijabi characters?