It's Ramadan! The ninth month of the Islamic calendar, Ramadan is a month-long celebration of community that culminates in Eid al-Fitr. Considered one of the most important events on the Islamic calendar, Muslim families around the world gather to share stories and re-focus their energies. A festival of reflection and consideration of others, this month offers learning opportunities for everyone - not just our Muslim friends.
In the spirit of sharing and togetherness, we compiled this list of titles. These stories were written by a few of our favorite Muslim authors. They feature Muslim characters and themes of Ramadan, including kindness, generosity, and self-discipline. We hope they'll support you in your journey of doing literacy differently. Ramadan Mubarak!
Once Upon an Eid by S. K. Ali and Aisha Saeed
A joyous short story collection by and about Muslims, edited by bestselling author Aisha Saeed and Morris finalist S. K. Ali. Once Upon an Eid is a collection of short stories that showcases the most brilliant Muslim voices writing today, all about the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid! Eid: The short, single-syllable word conjures up a variety of feelings and memories for Muslims. Maybe it's waking up to the sound of frying samosas or the comfort of bean pie, maybe it's the pleasure of putting on a new outfit for Eid prayers, or maybe it's the gift giving and holiday parties to come that day. Whatever it may be, for those who cherish this day of celebration, the emotional responses may be summed up in another short and sweet word: joy.
Amina's Voice by Hena Khan
A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family's vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel. Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she's in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the "cool" girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more "American." Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized. Amina's Voice brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl's voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other.
The Beauty of the Moment by Tanaz Bhathera
Susan is the new girl. She's sharp and driven, and strives to meet her parents' expectations of excellence. Malcolm is the bad boy. He started raising hell at age fifteen, after his mom died of cancer, and has had a reputation ever since. Susan's parents are on the verge of divorce. Malcolm's dad is a known adulterer. Susan hasn't told anyone, but she wants to be an artist. Malcolm doesn't know what he wants - until he meets her. Love is messy and families are messier, but in spite of their burdens, Susan and Malcolm fall for each other. The ways they drift apart and come back together are testaments to family, culture, and being true to who you are.
The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah
A remarkable story about the power of choosing tolerance from one of the most important voices in contemporary Muslim literature, critically acclaimed author Randa Abdel-Fattah. Michael usually concerns himself with basketball and hanging out with his friends, but every once in a while, his parents drag him to meetings and rallies with their anti-immigrant group. And it all makes sense to Michael. Until Mina, a beautiful girl from the other side of the protest lines, shows up at his school, and turns out to be funny, smart -- and a Muslim refugee from Afghanistan. Suddenly, his parents' politics seem much more complicated. Mina has already had a long and arduous journey leaving behind her besieged home in Afghanistan, and the frigid welcome at her new school is daunting. She just wants to settle in and help her parents get their restaurant up and running. But nothing about her new community will be that easy. As tensions increase, lines are drawn. Michael has to decide where he stands. Mina has to protect herself and her family. Both have to choose what they want their world to look like.
Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know by Samira Ahmed
It's August in Paris and 17-year-old Khayyam Maquet - American, French, Indian, Muslim - is at a crossroads. This holiday with her professor parents should be a dream trip for the budding art historian. But her maybe-ex-boyfriend is probably ghosting her, she might have just blown her chance at getting into her dream college, and now all she really wants is to be back home in Chicago figuring out her messy life instead of brooding in the City of Light. Two hundred years before Khayyam's summer of discontent, Leila is struggling to survive and keep her true love hidden from the Pasha who has “gifted” her with favored status in his harem. In the present day—and with the company of a descendant of Alexandre Dumas—Khayyam begins to connect allusions to an enigmatic 19th-century Muslim woman whose path may have intersected with Alexandre Dumas, Eugene Delacroix, and Lord Byron. Told in alternating narratives that bridge centuries, an echoing across centuries, Leila and Khayyam's lives intertwine, and as one woman's long-forgotten life is uncovered, another's is transformed.
Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan
Zara's family has waited years for their visa process to be finalized so that they can officially become US citizens. But it only takes one moment for that dream to come crashing down around them. 17-year-old Pakistani immigrant, Zara Hossain, has been leading a fairly typical life since her family moved to America. While dealing with the Islamophobia that she faces at school, Zara has to lay low, trying not to stir up any trouble and jeopardize their family's dependent visa status while they await their green card approval. One day her tormentor, star football player Tyler Benson, takes things too far, leaving a threatening note in her locker, and gets suspended. As an act of revenge against her for speaking out, Tyler and his friends vandalize Zara's house with racist graffiti, leading to a violent crime that puts Zara's entire future at risk. Now she must pay the ultimate price and choose between fighting to stay in the only place she's ever called home or losing the life she loves and everyone in it.
Looking for more ways to celebrate Ramadan? Check out this blog post on supporting friendships!