MashaAllah, there are so many things to like about this 36 page, brightly illustrated, elementary aged story. Nanni, the main character, is spunky. Not only is she strong enough to wear hijab to school, but she also is brave enough to confidently handle a bully on her own. Surrounded by a supportive teacher, friends, classmates, and her mom, Nanni’s creativity and understanding that Allah swt will help her find a way to handle her predicament results in a happy ending, and many empowering messages.
The book would work for most children, but I think second grade and up would get the most out of it. The girl might be young to be wearing hijab, but it seems like she wears it because she wants too. I like that the illustrations have her and her mom uncovered at home, and that there is a glossary at the back, opening up the book to muslim and non muslim kids alike.
I also really like the larger messages of acceptance, trying new things, and doing better when you know better. The supporting cast in the book resonates with muslims who go to schools where they are the minority, but have support and encouragement to practice their faith none-the-less. Nanni’s teacher remarks that her “hijabs are as regal as a princess’s crown,” and the other students like seeing what color or design she is wearing each day. Although a children’s book, the author does very clearly explain that the hijab is part of Nanni’s faith, although not mentioned by name, and that it is an act of worship. Nanni wants to handle the problem on her own, and for as bad as she wants to punch Leslie, she knows it isn’t the right thing to do. As she wrestles with what is the best approach, she puts her trust in Allah, swt, which perhaps is the greatest lesson for us all in the book, alhumdulillah.