All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie Courtney
Allie Abraham works on blending in. A Circassian with reddish-blond hair and hazel eyes, it is easy for this sixteen-year-old cheerleader, academic standout, and school choir member to ignore her Muslim heritage. Allie's non-practicing Muslim father believes that this will protect her from discrimination.
However, Allie is drawn to the culture and religion of her grandmother. She wants to learn Arabic, study the Qur'an, begin a habit of regular prayer, and dress modestly. She meets with a group of forward-thinking Muslim young women who practice their faith in modern America. She's an All-American Muslim Girl.
Publicly acknowledging her heritage is a challenge. She hides her newfound interest in Islam from her father, walks a fine line with her boyfriend whose father is a well-known and bigoted news personality. She deals with classmates who mock her faith and other Muslims who condemn her for not being Muslim enough. What to do?
Once Upon an Eid: Stories of Hope and Joy by 15 Muslim Voices
edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed
This collection of short stories paints miniature portraits of an assemblage of Eid-al-Fitr celebrations. While the practice of faith varies within the Muslim community, each unique Eid observance is memorable.
The anthology contains lighthearted as well as poignant glimpses into the culminating observance of Ramadan with descriptions of private prayer, public celebrations, distinctive clothing, special food, and gifts. Readers meet a recent convert to Islam who fasts and samples spicy fare for the first time. For others Eid is bittersweet, reviewing celebrations from years past and remembering absent family members. Some stories follow the journey to be with family: taking the subway to the Bronx or sitting in the car’s back seat with siblings while traveling to Sydney, Australia. I loved the descriptions of clothing: choosing to wear a hajib for the first time or fashioning a unique gown from a thrift store purchase.
Jude leaves her father and brother to escape the increasing violence in her Syrian hometown. She and her mother journey to Cincinnati, Ohio where they take refuge at the home of her uncle. Mother and daughter attempt to build a new life. It's hard. Everything is foreign including communicating in an unfamiliar language, eating strange food, and encountering a different style of dress. Jude has the added burden of being a seventh grade student, a difficult experience for anyone. Ignored by her cousin, Jude must navigate the treacherous waters of this strange school environment on her own. She struggles to find her place among students who “don’t look like me."
A possible solution presents itself. Jude loves theater and movies. She learns that the school is staging a production of Beauty and the Beast. Summoning her courage, she auditions for a part in this fairy-tale musical. Can a girl from Syria can make it onto the stage in Ohio?