Jun 10, 2022, 11:48 AM
This is a bestselling ground-breaking picture book about religion, sisterhood and identity.
Mama takes Asiyah and Faizah to the hijab shop so that Asiyah can pick out her “first-day hijab.” Mama likes pink, but Asiyah picks out “the brightest blue.” Faizah has a new backpack and light-up shoes for the first day of school, but when Asiyah walks out in her blue hijab, “It’s the most beautiful first day of school ever. / I’m walking with a princess.” Asiya's hijab is like the ocean and the sky, no line between them, saying hello with a loud wave. Once they arrive at school, the reactions of other children alternate with spreads depicting Faizah’s thoughts about Asiyah’s hijab, which are paired with Mama’s words. A girl whispers, asking Faizah about the hijab. But “Asiyah’s hijab isn’t a whisper”; according to Mama, “It means being strong.”
The beautiful illustrations by S K Aly show a smiling Asiyah, with her blue hijab extending into an image of “the sky on a sunny day” or “the ocean waving to the sky.” Faizah triumphs over the misunderstandings and bullying she witnesses, her pride in her sister still intact. This sensitive representation of family relationships that provide a loving coat of armor against the world’s difficulties is memorable and inspiring. Bullies are depicted as faceless shadows, emphasizing the importance of discounting what they say.
This is an uplifting, universal story of new experiences, the unbreakable bond shared by siblings and of being proud of who you are, from Olympic medallist Ibtihaj Muhammad. She is a fencer and the first Muslim American woman in hijab to compete at the Olympic Games, where she won a bronze medal in the saber team event. She has also inspired the first hijabi Barbie in her likeness.
This book is cleverly and sensitively written and explores emotions, mother’s wisdom, and the special bond between sisters. A read that I highly recommend should be in every learning setting.
Available at Timbooktoo tel 4494345