Happy in My Hijab: Picture Books

To foster a culturally inclusive and diverse world, I'm grateful that so many children's picture books have more and more diverse characters and concepts. Now, for instance, there are many story books portraying young girls admiring older sisters or mothers and other women in their lives wearing hijabs. These books not only help normalize and celebrate the common cultural practice of wearing a head covering, but also help introduce its meaning in Muslim faith.

In Hana's Hundreds of Hijabs, Hana has hijabs from secondhand shops, shopping malls, family and online sales, upcycled shirts, etc. In fact, she has so many she cannot choose which one to wear; plus, her drawers are overflowing. She ingeniously comes up with a plan to add sparkles, patterns and custom styling for others by salon appointment in partnership with her aunt Huda.

In Mommy's Khimar, Mommy has so many colorful khimars (or hijabs) – some with stripes, patterns and polka dots too - and her daughter's absolute favorite one is yellow. Wearing it feels like a crown! She shines like the sun, becomes a mama bird, a superhero, and feel like her mommy is always with her (she can even smell her hair coconut oil and cocoa butter skin lotion). Of note, Mom-Mom (or grandmother) doesn't wear a khimar or even go to a mosque, but she is still family, and they all love each other just the same.

In The Proudest Blue, Asiya wears a blue hijab the color of the ocean and sky, and looks like a princess to Faizah, but when she's teased for wearing what another student calls a “tablecloth” on her head, Faizah must learn to see past people's cruelty through strength, self-understanding and confidence. The companion book, The Kindest Red, features Faizah wearing her mother’s hand-me-down dress for picture day, but when posed next to her older sister, Asiya (who she wants to match), her kind friends help come up with a creative solution to make her a hijab out of the dress sash/bow.

In Proud in Her Hijab, readers will learn more about Ethiopian faith, food and culture as they see Iman struggling at her new school because she's teased and judged for being different. Others suspect she's hiding something ugly or terrible under her hijab. One student even teases that she probably showers with her clothes on! Readers will learn about the phrase "Aselamu Aleykum," meaning "Peace be upon you," as well as the importance of being kind and respectful to others.

In Under My Hijab, readers learn more about how a young girls’ Mama and Grandma leave their hair uncovered at home, but have hijabs to cover their hair, ears, necks and chests at work in the bakery or in public.

In What Color Is My Hijab?, a young girl admires Muslim women she admires (such as engineers and doctors) wearing hijabs in different styles and in every color. Readers will see a blue hijab under a pilot’s cap; a black hijab on the head of female athlete and more.

What does your favorite hijab look like? And how does it make you feel?