Friday, March 8, 2019

Under My Hijab by Hena Khan, illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel

Under My Hijab by Hena Khan, illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel
Lee & Low Books, 2019, 32 pages

Little girls love to look up to and try to emulate their mothers and other women they admire, often wearing their jewelry, scarves and/or shoes, or carrying their purses. And why not? These are the women who love them and care for them, and who try to make the world a safe place for them. Here is a book that invites readers into the world of a young Muslim American girl who also looks up to the women around her who follow the teachings of Islam and choose to wear a hijab as part of their daily life outside the home. For young Muslim readers, this book is a chance to see and celebrate who they are, and for non-Muslim readers, it is an opportunity to learn about and dispel some of the mystery and negative connotations surrounding the hijab that they may have heard.

The narrator, a young girl, introduces the reader to the six influential women in her life that wear a hijab whenever they are in public. Each person is depicted on a two page spread going about her usual activities and wearing a hijab. Turn the page, and readers see the same person at home where they do not have to cover their head around family. Her grandmother folds her hijab carefully when she bakes bread at work, but at home she puts her hair up in a bun while she bakes cookies.
Mama, a doctor, tidily tucks her cheerful pink hijab into the white lab coat while at work, but a long braid at home. Auntie, an aritst, wears a silky hijab with a handmade jewel and who would ever suspect that underneath her hair is striped pink and purple. Likewise, the narrator's troop leader Jenna wears a sun hat over her hijab, but lets it hang free while telling scary stories at night in a tent. Stylish sister Zayna wear her hijab in a cute way for school, and at home, the sisters pick out what she will wear the next day, matching outfit to hijab. Cousin Iman knows how to keep her sporty hijab in place while working on getting her first black belt in karate but at home she lets it down while they listen and dang to music. The book ends with a gathering of family in a park, and a gathering of the six women the narrator introduced us to and the young narrator now wearing her own hijab.

Under My Hijab is told in cheerful four line rhyming stanzas and each page is illustrated soft gentle illustrations that really depict the difference in each women and how personality comes through in the way she wears her hijab. I also like the way the illustrations depicts what isn't said in the text. Readers doing a close reading of the illustrations will notice that the narrator's family is multiracial, grandmother and father appear to be black, while other characters have various skin tones. Be sure to read Hena Khan's About the Hijab at the end of the book to learn more about why these head coverings are worn by some women but not by others of the Islamic faith.

This book is recommended for readers age 6+
This book was an EARC received from Edelweiss+

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for covering this book! I've wanted to check it out so I'm happy I read this post.


Imagination Designs