I have been working as an Islamic School Librarian (daycare to 8th grade) for a few years now, and started two Book Clubs at the school as well.  I have been reading as many Islamically themed books, books with Muslim characters, books by Muslim authors, and culturally relevant books, as I can get my hands on.  Needless to say I can’t keep them all straight, so I thought if I blog about them, then I can keep my thoughts straight as well as go back and comment on what worked or didn’t work in book club meetings, inshaAllah.  As a former teacher, and lifelong avid reader, I feel strongly in the power of the written word, and with so much negativity around us, I feel that positive messages of  everyday Muslims, could speak volumes to our youth.  Plus this way, I can actually have a place to direct people when they ask if I know of any good Islamic fiction books!

Feel free to offer your opinions on books I feature, and suggest books I should read, inshaAllah our kids can read books that they can identify with and see themselves in, an opportunity many of us didn’t have when we were their age.

Thanks for stopping by, Peace.

Kirin

UPDATE SUMMER 2016: We have moved to Alabama and with leaving Tennessee I also left my beloved job.  I am planning to keep the blog going as in my heart I will always be suggesting Islamic Fiction to kids looking for themselves in literature, and who knows maybe I’ll get the chance to work in such a capacity again.

41 responses »

  1. Assalamu alaikum Kirin

    I am Zaynab Dawood and it is good to see my novella ‘Burning Boats’ on your list.

    I hope the students at your school enjoy reading it and I am curious to know what they thought
    of it.

    I live in England with my husband and four children. There is another novella underway but that may take of couple of years to materialize.

    It would good to keep in contact.

    With regards and duas,

    Zaynab.

    • Jazakhallah kher for writing your story I’m about half way through it and have already ordered a class set of 10 copies, we will probably not get to it until next school year (August or September) and inshaAlalh I will definitely keep you posted with the student’s response. Please keep me posted with your next book.
      Peace
      Kirin

  2. Salaam, Kirin!

    This is Najiyah Maxfield, author of Sophia’s Journal! How did the book club like it? Where are you located? Maybe we can arrange an author visit.

    I’d like to talk to you about the curriculum guide for SJ. Could you please email me at daybreakpress@rabata.org? JAK!

    • wasalam, the students loved it, subhanAllah, it was mostly middle school girls and they absolutely loved the book. It was fun to watch them blush as they spoke of the courtship and betrayal as if they don’t see so much “more” in their everyday life. It was even more rewarding to listen to them discuss history, and deen, and characters, and their thoughts after reading the book, so thank you. We are in Knoxville, Tennessee. My only suggestion is to PLEASE WRITE MORE BOOKS 🙂 InshaAllah we will be in touch, jazakhaALlah kher
      Kirin

  3. Salam sis,
    Your blog has been so helpful for us, my cousin who used to work with you in Knoxville shared it with me, and I’m so grateful. I am working with our Islamic school library to update their books and actually make sure they have Islamic books…do you have a list of all the Islamic books you’ve reviewed or used at your school? Know of any comprehensive list anywhere?
    Thank you!

    • Yay, glad to hear. I don’t have a list I wish I did it would have made things easier. I’ve seen a few suggested readings from schools that include Islamic books and books with values appropriate for Muslims, but I didn’t agree with them and thus don’t know where I stashed them. sorry. Plus the rate in which new books keep getting published I find pretty impressive, الحَمْد لله, maybe we can work together on making a leveled list at some point, let me know 💜

  4. Salaam, Kirin!

    This is Najiyah Maxfield, author of Sohia’s Journal and editorial director of Daybreak Press. We’re excited to introduce you to our newest book, Drummer Girl, which just won the Literary Classics Seal of Approval! http://clcreviews.blogspot.com/2017/02/drummer-girl-by-hiba-masood-earns.html

    We’re organizing a blog tour and would be thrilled if you’d review Drummer Girl sometime between March 15 and May 15. I’d be happy to send you a digital reviewer’s copy if you’d like, just direct me to the best email address.

    Thanks so much!

    Warmest regards,
    Najiyah Maxfield
    daybreakpress.rabata.org

  5. Salams, Kirin, and thank you for your kind review of “Umar & the Bully.” As you said, I wrote it ages ago, and was really moved and surprised when I discovered that anti-bullying programs were using it. Then I found your review from last year too. Thank you!

  6. Thank you so much for the work that you put into this blog! I am currently homeschooling my 2nd grade son, and we are studying the medieval time period. I have found many picture books about medieval Europe, but I am struggling to find books about this time period that focus on the Arabic and Muslim perspective. Would you happen to have any recommendations? Many thanks!

  7. Salaam, just stumbled across your blog through Instagram and I’m so glad I have! My children are still very young but I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting books and collecting books for their library from now, and love your detailed reviews, such an invaluable resource masha’Allah!

  8. Asalamu Alaykum Sister,

    I love your blog and I always go on it to read your book reviews. We just started a girls youth group and I would really appreciate any book recommendations you would have for; 1- high school aged girls, 2- middle school aged girls and 3- Any book that is appropriate and relatable to both middle and high school students.

    Excited to hear back from you in sha Allah.
    Jazakum Allahu Khayran,

    Zeina

    • salams, the best recommendation would be to use the search feature and put in words like “middle school” and “high school” I can honestly tell you high school books are mostly romance, I think She Wore Red Sneakers and An Acquaintance could work, as they are fairly clean, Saints and Misfits is really good, but you would have to base it off knowing your audience. I often have a hard time because US required reading in high school often involves concepts of rape, and adultry but somehow when it is a book of my choosing I get a bit nervous. Watched by Marino Budhos could work and with a grain of salt any of the Randa Abdel Fatteh books. For middle school, there are a lot more options, Magnus Chase, The Gauntlet, The Great Race to Sycamore Street, Burning Boats, The Treasure at Bayan Bluff (aka The Moon of Masarah), Brave (a graphic novel), Wishtree, Overboard, Beneath my mother’s feet. For both if you are in the US (it involves US history) Sophia’s Journal is one of my favorites, When Wings Expand, The Istanbul Intrigue, any of the Senzai books. I know there are too many, lol, but scroll the blog and inshaAllah you will find something that works. Happy reading!

  9. Assalamu alaikum Kirin,

    Thank you so much for this blog. I’ve been subscribed for a while. It’s wonderful and I’ve shared it with so many people already!

    I’m currently working on a short picture book and would love your feedback before I start sending it to agents. Please let me know if you’re interested!

  10. Salam. I just wanted to drop a note and say I absolutely love this blog- it is a treasure trove of information mashaAllah and may Allah reward you for your efforts! I’m based in England and this blog has helped me keep abreast of publications from North America. What would you suggest for a boys/girls book club of 8-12 year olds? Many thanks and carry on with your reviews please!

    Sanaa

    • Wasalam thank you for your kind words. Off the top of my head for Muslim kids Id suggest Treasure at Bayan Bluff, Great Race to Sycamore Street, Refugee, The Muslims, the gauntlet, shooting Kabul, just a drop of water, tale of highly unusual magic….

  11. Assalam-o-Alaikum,
    I am reaching out to share that I just finished my novel and I think it is right up for a review on your blog.

    I saw that you did a review of the book “An Acquaintance” and I thought you might be interested in reviewing a book in a similar genre?

    My novel “The Strongest Vow” is currently live on Amazon Kindle, and I’d love to send a review copy your way if you think it might be a good fit.

    The story is about a decent relationship between two young-adults; Harris, a Christian boy, and Hareem, a Muslim girl. Here is the short description of the story:

    ” Thrilled about getting admission to the College in the coming months, Harris’s life was a smooth sail; Until he had to help the daughter of his dad’s friend, reluctantly.
    Hareem, a girl having Indian ancestry, who hates boys in general, was compelled to get a crash course from the guy her dad found.
    Thus begins the journey of patience, sentiments, and decisions of their lives. Would they able to climb the mountain of their egos? Would they dare to cross the line of their faiths? Will they succeed in saving their relationship? It will all depend on the strongest vow they had made to themselves.”

    And here is My Author Bio:

    Hasan Ahmed Ashrafi loves to understand the diversity of human beings related to ethnicity, gender, and ancestry; which all are our core specialty amongst all the creatures in the history of our world. Readers of his novels will sense the difference of what people from other parts of the world, feels and thinks about something that is very common in society. He perceives the fact that in today’s world of flooding information sources, we miss the beauty of our social relationships.

    If interested, hit reply and I will send over a digital copy (MOBI, PDF or Epub).

    Also, my novel is on free promotion from 21st to 23rd December, so it would be great for your website visitors to read it for free and an honest review is highly appreciated as it will help to decide other readers of this genre to read this novel.

    This is the Amazon link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KMCY9V6

    Looking forward to your reply and thanks for your time,
    -Hasan Ahmed Ashrafi

  12. Salaam! I am so glad to have found you. I am the author of “the Gift of Ramadan,” and I found myself nearly weeping when I read your review of my PB on Amazon. I cannot believe you took the time to write not just ONE excellent, honest and thorough paragraph but SEVEN. As I mom I know how much time that takes. As a reader and writer–I thought to myself, “Mashallah…this reviewer completely and utterly understood what I was trying to do here.” I am so honored. Thank you so very much.

    • No thank you for this beautiful book. May Allah swt reward your efforts! We do a weekly craft and story time during ramadan at the mosque for littles and inshallah the first one we will be reading your book and then making pizzas to take home and cook for iftar! Can’t wait inshallah! Let me know if you’d like pictures and how best to get them to you.

  13. Assalam U Alaikum! I came upon this blog by chance but I love it soooo much your vision perfectly captures how I feel about the importance of Muslim/Islamic rep in fiction books since its a great bridge for relatability and understanding. Stories are such a non-aggressive zone to explore and better understand different faiths and ideals. I love that you put this blog together and will definately be using this resource to reccomend readings to my family and friends (and of course, myself!)
    Thank you and may Allah bless your efforts Ameen.

  14. Asalamualaikum!
    I have been working on a searchable database for Islamic School teachers to use for their classrooms. Currently it is a concise, Google spreadsheet. I would love to connect with you and combine our efforts. If interested, please contact me at ielsaba@gmail.com

  15. Assalam alaikum. I really appreciate your reviews as a teacher at an Islamic school! Just wanted to let you know that I read “Flying Over the Water” and Jordyn’s coach is a lesbian. She mentions that she and her wife suffered a miscarriage, so it wouldn’t be appropriate for an elementary book club for me.

    • You are right I’m not sure why I didn’t mention it in the flags section, I remember thinking about it, but hasn’t mentioned it in the opening section as a concern because the characters aren’t Muslim and it isn’t dwelled on. I will update the review, thank you.

  16. Thank you for your review of A GALAXY OF SEA STARS. My book RUBY IN THE SKY also includes a Muslim character from Syria. I would be happy to send it to you if you are interested in reading it. You can contact me at jzulferr@gmail.com. I work with refugees though the organization IRIS-Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services in CT. I will continue to recommend your awesome and thoughtful blog to them. Thank you again.

  17. As salaamu alaykum

    Do you have any posts on how to start and run a kids book club? And any suggestions on making it work remotely?

    • Walaikumasalam, I don’t have any posts. What type of books? If they are main stream books I’d just assign a book, have readers to acquire the book: purchase, library (libby for free ebook checkouts), kindle etc, set a time for a Zoom meeting and chat away. If you are planning to do more self published books, I would get in touch with a small book store perhaps to see if you can get a discount for buying in bulk and have the readers get the books from you, or maybe have a code to receive from the seller and go from there. inshaAllah you figure something out, and please let me know what works best!

      • Aslm.
        Jazakallah. I hope it will be as easy as you make it sound! It will be main stream books.

  18. Assalam o Alaikum so I read the review “My First Muslim Potty Book by Yousfa Janjua illustrated by Golnar Servatian” you are right I read this book in 2021 and it coming out now once I read that I said to my head Librarian if we can buy that and so we did and now innshaAllah I post this in my community group so that they take advantage I love at the end there is a Hadith and the dua.

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