By Donna Bulatowicz, Montana State University Billings, MT, and Desiree Cueto, Western Washington University, WA with Alicen Anijo
Even though roughly 1% of U.S. adults identify as Muslim (Pew Research Center 2020), few books published in the United States authentically portray this community. This leads to challenges in finding books for Muslim children that represent their religious identity. It also poses a problem for non-Muslim children who need to see religious diversity represented in literature. Books are one way to mitigate prejudice; thus, the importance of a multitude of authentic portrayals of Muslim main characters in books can make a difference. Continue reading
by Seemi Aziz, University of Arizona, Tucson, and Celeste Trimble, St. Martin’s University, Lacey, WA
Abilities and disabilities go hand in hand and their representations in children’s picturebooks know no bounds, especially in recent publications. In the instance of strengths and abilities; one observes multiple representations of tennis players in recent brilliant picturebooks such as Game Changers: The story of Venus and Serena Williams by the Ransomes, Sisters by Jeanette Winter, Serena: The Littlest Sister by Karlin Gray and Monica Ahanonu. Recently Simone Biles made history when she became the gymnast with the most World medals and most World gold medals of any gender, as well as the female gymnast with the most World all-around titles. This alone may assure Biles presence in future books. Reading about success stories through picturebooks provide inspiration for children of all ages. For the month of January 2020, we will take on the power of strengths and abilities especially those of little-known athletes of local and global origins.
Olympic medalist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad along with S.K. Ali write about an experience from both of their childhoods. This story is about a young girl whose older sister is going to be wearing the hijab for the first time in public (her school). The mother takes Asiya to a hijab shop to choose a color that most reflects her. Her younger sister, Faizah, accompanies her. The color of the hijab that Asiya chooses is a brilliant blue that reflects the sky and the sea. Asiya is bullied in school about her hijab but she fights back with confidence that only a child who is loved and appreciated by her family can. She becomes a role model for her younger sibling and other younger girls, to follow when time comes for them to choose to wear the hijab. Continue reading