10 Books That Will Excite Your Kids About Their Muslim Identity

As a Muslim kid growing up in New York City in the 1980’s, I have to admit that I had it a LOT easier than most kids growing up in United States. I was lucky enough to live in a city where the vast majority of its residents were people of color and immigrants. However, I grew up in Queens in a predominantly Caucasian neighborhood. It was a place where Christmas and Hannukah were celebrated, but no one would ever mention holidays like Kwanzaa or Eid. And forget about being able to eat gummy candies. Everything seemed to be made with pork or lard. My parents didn’t understand how or why it was important to create special holiday moments around Ramadan or Eid. They were just immigrants trying to instill a sense of devotion and faith in us. As a parent, I appreciate just how hard it must have been for my parents to do that.


Even though I was a young thing, I still understood how cool leggings were. I am sure my mom will hate that I shared this.

Now, as a Muslim mom, I can’t help but be dazzled by the assortment of resources available to us for our own kids. If your kids want to eat marshmallows or gummy candies, they can easily be purchased from the halal meat store. If you want to buy Ramadan or Eid decorations for your home, there is Etsy and an extensive list of online retailers you can turn to. Even Party City offers Eid decorations now! It is easier than ever to share Islam with your kids, but why is it that I am as scared as ever raising my kids?

With digital device use on the rise, it is easy for kids to tune you out and listen to a constant barrage of negative or useless information. From Minecraft to Fortnite, there are games that kids can turn to as they turn away from their parents. This is not a post to criticize parents about allowing their kids to use these games. However, it is a lot harder than ever to communicate with our kids as they get more and more distracted by alluring calls for their attention.

One way I have been able to engage with my kids is to put my own phone down (which by way, is HARD). But I have found that when I do and I read books with my kids, we are interacting in a very real way that helps shape their core values. We read the classics like Good Night Moon, but we also read a lot of books that are centered around Islam and Muslims. Here are my top 10 Muslim books for kids of all ages to be inspired by.

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors

Golden Domes Silver Lanterns

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns

This book will enchant your children. With soothing rhymes by Hena Khan and dazzling illustrations by Merdokht Amini, your children will learn all about the colors of the world woven into the daily routine of a Muslim family. From the color of a prayer rug to the color of a grandfather’s cap, this book will entertain your kids with familiar everyday objects. This book is in steady rotation in my household, and I am sure it will be a favorite for your own kids. Please note that Hena Khan has book signings all over the country, so be sure to follow her and see when she is in your town. Ages 3+

Lailah’s Lunchbox


This book is based on writer Reem Faruqi’s actual life of being homesick as a young schoolgirl. Lailah moves from a Muslim majority country to Georgia and struggles to explain why her lunchbox will be empty during the month of Ramadan to her teacher and friends. She is able to confide in a school librarian and figure out a way to share what Ramadan is with her class. This book is really wonderful for kids to understand that being shy is a normal part of life and that there is a whole range of emotions that happen with a big move. One scene my kids could relate to was when Lailah is offered her favorite treat while she is fasting and has to say no thank you. It is a great book for kids who are starting to fast a full day and need some encouragement. Ages 6+

Ilyas and Duck Search for Allah

Ilyas and Duck

This book is one that takes a simple picture book to explain the complex concept of searching for the divine. Your kids will love the adventures that Ilyas and Duck go on in their search of Allah, but parents will love that it is a great way to explain the concept of where God is. Omar S. Khawaja has an entire series of Ilyas and Duck books that are sure to be crowd pleasers with your own children. He also conducts readings and book signings at local masjids, so be sure to follow him and see when he is coming to your area. Ages 2+

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story


Writer Hena Khan appears on our list again for a reason: she is able to capture the unique Muslim American experience in a way like no other writer can in a way that resonates with kids. Her authentic storytelling is apparent in this book that follows a seven-year-old Pakistani American girl named Yasmeen as she celebrates the entire month of Ramadan with her family. From the moon sighting onwards, this book explains the concepts of moon sightings, phases, iftar time, chand raat (night of the moon) and more. Ages 5+

Noor Kids Stand Up To Bullying

Noor Kids

Amin G. Aaser writes about the dangers of peer pressure and even being passive in the face of bullying in a very interactive book that will appeal to your kids. Noor Kids is a unique business model that allows parents to subscribe monthly to receive books that are not only informative but presents ideas in a way that kids are sure to remember and implement in their own lives. Utilizing what they call the SIRAT method, Noor Kids relies on storytelling, identity curriculum, role models, active parenting, and thinking critically. It gives Muslim parents the tools they need to raise confident Muslims. I highly recommend checking out their blog for excellent parenting resources. Ages 3+

Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs


A comprehensive and beautiful anthology of traditional stories from around the world, this collection of short stories not only entertain but illuminate the importance of Islamic values and morals in a very powerful yet simple way. Ages 2+

Cinderella: An Islamic Tale


If you are wary of sharing fairy tales with your children because you are sick of the Disney version OR you are horrified by the amount of violence in the original version, this book is for you. It retells the classic story of Cinderella as a Muslim woman of color. With important concepts such as the reliance of Allah and the idea that even the pious are tested with hardship, this fairy tale version really illuminates virtues that are integral to Muslims. I will say that you will have to console children who are sensitive because the idea of losing a parent is never easy. However, it is done in a way that doesn’t gloss over the death of a parent (like Disney) and allows readers a glimpse into what personal loss does look like. (Please note: I don’t recommend the Snow White version of this author’s series for young children as it delves into black magic, murder, and the concept of evil eye which I feel are concepts best left to older children) Ages 8+

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes


A continuation of Hena Khan’s book on colors, this book uses rhyming words and Merdokht Amini’s stunning illustrations to reinforce the concept of shapes using items familiar to Muslims all over the world. If your kids love the book Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, this is a must-have for their collection of books. Ages 2+

Yo Soy Muslim

A beautiful lyrical book by Mark Gonzales, this picture book discusses important concepts of racism and belonging while celebrating the Latino Muslim experience. A combination of surreal poetry with fantastical illustration by Merdokht Amini, this book is certain to make your kids proud of the diversity of the Muslim ummah and of their own heritage. Ages 6+

It’s Ramadan, Curious George!


How can I not mention the book that made Ramadan mainstream? Writer Hena Khan takes your kids on a journey with Curious George that takes him to a masjid where he learns you take off shoes, iftar, and even an Eid celebration. This book is perfect for kids of all ages to get excited about Ramadan and Eid. Ages 2+

I truly hope this curated list gets you excited to start your own children’s library of Muslim books by Muslim authors. Let me know what books I should buy next for my own kids in the comments below!

Sondos Alqattan Proves Racism Does Exist in Gulf Countries

Sondos Alqattan
This week, a very popular Kuwaiti vlogger named Sondos Alqattan decided to go on Instagram and vent about Kuwait’s new law that allows Filipino workers one day off a week. The new law also allows workers to retain control over their passports. Please keep in mind that she has 2.3 million followers on Instagram alone. This means that her words influence how many young and impressionable minds will view this world. Her actions have a consequence whether she likes it or not.

The only way to describe how out of touch Sondos is with reality is to explain that she is from a Gulf country. These countries have massive amounts of wealth among a small elite who sit sequestered away from the rest of the world. These wealthy individuals abuse a system of sponsoring workers called kafala. This system allows employers the power to take away workers’ passports, withhold their salaries, and subject them to abuse. Sondos even mentions in her video how she doesn’t want a maid from the Philippines​ because the maid would have access to her passport and she doesn’t know if the maid will run off without doing her work. It is clear that Sondos feel entitled to restrict her maid’s passport and movement even if she has the day off as if the maid is her property.

She is not alone. The Gulf is notorious for its abuse of workers. Workers are lured from extremely impoverished countries like Bangladesh and the Philippines with lies of good wages and living conditions in Gulf countries. They are usually tricked into slave-like conditions.

Recently in Qatar, more than 4,000 workers died in horrible work conditions. You can read this report in 2014 about the kafala system and how Qatar’s abuse of domestic workers is rampant.

The idea that Sondos views her maid as property versus as a human being is just part of the larger picture of the rampant racism in Gulf countries.

As Muslims, we should be better than this. Muhammad (peace be upon him) in his last sermon said, “All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over a white- except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim, which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not therefore, do injustice to yourselves.”

Muslims should be the first to treat workers well. The Messenger (peace be upon him) also said: “Pay the laborer his wages before his sweat dries.” How can we expect to be respected as an Ummah when we don’t even honor our Prophetic traditions? As a Muslim blogger, I condemn the racism and entitlement shared by Sondos Alqattan. I pray that she takes the time to visit countries like the Philippines so she can see the poverty that exists in the world. Perhaps that will give her some compassion and humanity.

The Lowdown on ipsy Gen Beauty

This past weekend I decided to attend ipsy Gen Beauty in San Francisco. As a marketing professional, I have attended countless conferences, but I have never attended a beauty conference before. Since this conference was literally in my backyard (plus their targeted Facebook ads kept tempting me with a nice $75 price tag), I decided to attend Generation Beauty.

I have divided this blog post into useful headers so you can skip to what you want to know about (We all know you want to read about the goodies 😉

Beauty Swag

The goody bag was well worth the ticket price. Expect to receive about $200 worth of beauty products. I will say that based on other reviews online about Ipsy Gen goody bags, I was expecting a lot of discarded shades I would never use. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see that a lot of brands put in the effort to share full-sized or quality sample sized products.

Some standouts: MAC Cosmetics gave you a choice of five different shades of lipstick when you visited their booth. It was a full-sized lipstick. In the actual goody bag, they gave you a greige colored lip in their Retro Matte lip collection.

Soo Ae deserves a shoutout for giving me enough masks to survive an apocalypse​. They gave about 15 sheet masks in the goody bag PLUS two sheet masks when you visited their booth. While attendees were shivering in the cold waiting for their favorite beauty influencers, Sooae was running around making us smile by giving us even MORE sheet masks. I have more than enough to get sheet faced, thank you very much.

Luxie, which is a Bay Area beauty company gave each attendee a brush cleaner that looked like a plastic loofah. They make vegan-friendly​ beauty brushes. If you visited their booth, they gave you a choice of about 4-5 brushes to pick from. I really enjoyed speaking with the people at the Luxie booth that is for sure. Speaking of brushes, Moda Brushes also gave each attendee a brush.

Beauty Influencer Line Up

Ipsy Gen SF had a really stellar line up of beauty influencers. Here is what sucked: waiting in line for hours while in the cold. If you wanted to meet any of the influencers, Ipsy Gen forced you outside to wait. They had security guards who practically manhandled​ you and as you waited, they would ignore anyone who would cut the line. When I waited to see Tamanna Roashan aka Dress Your Face, literally a group of SEVEN girls cut people in front of me. THIS part of the conference was POORLY handled.

Once you got to meet the influencer you wanted to see, you were literally shoved in front of a ring light tripod with an inexperienced teenager taking your picture. PLEASE review your photo before you leave because when I met Tamanna, the person taking the picture had taken unflattering pictures of BOTH of us with our eyes closed. I don’t even know how anyone can take a bad picture of Tamanna. Tamanna was nice enough to retake a selfie with me which came out much better. So if you want that flattering photo, please CHECK. You don’t want to waste all that time to get a bad photo.

I got to meet Jackie Aina (who is very supportive of Muslim bloggers and Muslim brands). She was the NICEST human being and took the moment to appreciate all of her fans who waited for her. Her fanbase was also the NICEST. We all sat and chatted as old friends while we waited to meet her. So now, I have some local Bay Area fam. Thank you Jackie!

Beauty Schedule

The programming for this conference was just awful. It was bare bones and really wasn’t as engaging as it could be. The one STAND OUT for this was that all of the panels were hosted by Daniel Musto who managed to crack jokes, stay empathetic and was always engaged. He moderated a panel I wasn’t even planning on attending about Beauty by You. The panel was made up of regular ipsy subscribers who were getting makeovers. But they each had a story that would make you want to cry or be inspired. My biggest lesson is that the attendees of Ipsy wowed me more than anything else.

I would have liked to see more makeup how-tos, more brand people to talk to, and panels on the latest makeup trends. Even break out sessions on brand building, how to edit photos, or even how to write a pitch would have been nice. A lot of the attendees are passionate makeup lovers who blog too.

Also, don’t cheap out on chargers at the charging stations Ipsy! I am lucky I brought my own charger because I would have been waiting for my phone to charge for hours.

The Haves and Have Nots

I have been to conferences that are blogger-centric. But Ipsy Gen SF was by far one where you literally feel like a peasant. If you are a “creator,” you get to go upstairs to a lounge where they serve food that most of the creators don’t eat, serve watermelon water, and other fun perks. They literally are on a balcony where they look “down” on everyone else before their meet and greet OR panel starts. Their swag bag is insanely upgraded with FULL-SIZE everything.

My friend was invited to the lounge and left her bags, and when I tried to go with her, the security guard almost tackled me! It’s not that serious, I won’t try to sneak in for your snacks (mainly because I had packed my own, I am a mom). It literally makes you feel like a high school outcast where the mean girls say “you can’t sit with us.”


Here are some tips to have a great experience.

Pack a phone charger
THIS is the most important tip. You don’t want to run out of battery juice before meeting your favorite blogger. Or before you need to order an Uber to get back to your hotel room or home. Pack a charger.

Pack Poo-pourri.
As beautiful as the attendees are, some left real stinkers in the loo. I was so glad I packed this and Clorox wipes.

Pack Snacks
I also packed snacks and water. You are going to be running around booths ALL day. The food trucks are outside the venue where it is cold since you are on the pier near water. Just pack your own snacks.

Leave Behind the Swag Bag on Day 2
That swag bag is like a small baby. You don’t want to be carrying around that baby for too long.

Be Nice

As much as I wanted to call out those line cutters, I just kept it to myself because I am at a MAKEUP conference. It is not that serious. Say thank you to all those people working the booths too. Saying please and having manners always works out best. Even when the security guard was about to tackle me, I was nice and didn’t make a fuss. It’s cool. Just be cool.

If you love makeup, I recommend going to Ipsy Gen SF at least once. However, I think I may just do Beauty Con LA next year. Have you gone to either events before? What do you think?