13 Recommended #OwnVoices Reads for Ramadan

Mommy’s Khimar illustration by Ebony Glenn

Depending on the moon and where you live, Ramadan will take place between approximately May 5 and June 4 this year. The history, contributions, and practices of Islam are left out of most history books. As a result, many non-Muslims do not know much about Ramadan or the contributions that Muslim’s have had globally. An understanding of the holy month and how it’s practiced can be useful to countering misconceptions about Islam and Muslims. We created a list of children’s books about Ramadan — and have included some additional titles celebrating Muslim life and culture. All of the books are #OwnVoices and written by Muslim authors. The books featuring content about Ramadan are noted as #RamadanReads in the book descriptions.

Educators and education administrators: please be sure to check out this article by Rusul Alrubail on How Teachers Can Support Students During Ramadan.

Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story by Reem Faruqi, illustrated by Lea Lyon: Lailah is in a new school in a new country, thousands of miles from her old home, and missing her old friends. When Ramadan begins, she is excited that she is finally old enough to participate in the fasting but worried that her classmates won’t understand why she doesn’t join them in the lunchroom. Lailah solves her problem with help from the school librarian and her teacher and in doing so learns that she can make new friends who respect her beliefs. This gentle, moving story from first-time author Reem Faruqi comes to life in Lea Lyon’s vibrant illustrations. Lyon uses decorative arabesque borders on intermittent spreads to contrast the ordered patterns of Islamic observances with the unbounded rhythms of American school days. Ages 5–8. #RamadanReads

Lailah’s Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story illustration by Lea Lyon

Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, illustrated by Ebony Glenn: A young Muslim girl spends a busy day wrapped up in her mother’s colorful headscarf in this sweet and fanciful picture book from debut author and illustrator Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow and Ebony Glenn. A young girl plays dress up with her mother’s headscarves, feeling her mother’s love with every one she tries on. Charming and vibrant illustrations showcase the beauty of the diverse and welcoming community in this portrait of a young Muslim American girl’s life. Ages 4–8.

Mommy’s Khimar illustration by Ebony Glenn

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini: From a crescent moon to a square garden to an octagonal fountain, this breathtaking picture book celebrates the shapes — and traditions — of the Muslim world. Sure to inspire questions and observations about world religions and cultures, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets is equally at home in a classroom reading circle and on a parent’s lap being read to a child. Ages 3–6.

Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets illustration by Mehrdokht Amini

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter by Mark Gonzales, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini: From Muslim and Latino poet Mark Gonzales comes a touching and lyrical picture book about a parent who encourages their child to find joy and pride in all aspects of their multicultural identity. Dear little one,…know you are wondrous.
A child of crescent moons,
a builder of mosques,
a descendant of brilliance,
an ancestor in training. Written as a letter from a father to his daughter, Yo Soy Muslim is a celebration of social harmony and multicultural identities. The vivid and elegant verse, accompanied by magical and vibrant illustrations, highlights the diversity of the Muslim community as well as Indigenous identity. A literary journey of discovery and wonder, Yo Soy Muslim is sure to inspire adults and children alike. Ages 4–8.

Yo Soy Muslim illustration by Mehrdokht Amini

Under My Hijab by Hena Khan, illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel: Grandma wears it clasped under her chin. Aunty pins hers up with a beautiful brooch. Jenna puts it under a sun hat when she hikes. Zara styles hers to match her outfit. As a young girl observes six very different women in her life who each wear the hijab in a unique way, she also dreams of the rich possibilities of her own future, and how she will express her own personality through her hijab. Written in sprightly rhyme and illustrated by a talented newcomer, Under My Hijab honors the diverse lives of contemporary Muslim women and girls, their love for each other, and their pride in their culture and faith. Ages 4–8.

Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle by Reza Jalali, illustrated by Anne Sibley O’Brien: Looking through the tall trees in their backyard in Maine, Shirin and her dad search for a glimpse of the new moon, the sign that the month of Ramadan has begun. Ramadan is a time when Muslims around the world pray, fast, and pay special attention to doing good deeds. Shirin is nine and thinks she should be able to fast like her older brother Ali, but her parents feel she is still too young to go without food and water all day. When Shirin catches Ali sneaking food after school, she wonders: Should she tattle or is this an opportunity for a good deed? Shirin feels left out when the others break their fasts to have their own meals after dark and in the early morning, before it is light again. But then her grandmother tells a story that shows her a way she can feel more a part of Ramadan and the traditions and closeness her family enjoys during this special month of the year. Her good deeds result in a surprise for everyone! Ages 4–8. #RamadanReads

Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle illustration by Anne Sibley O’Brien

The White Nights of Ramadan by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gannon: Mid-Ramadan is a special time for families in the Arabian (Persian) Gulf. These middle days are known as “the three whites,” because they include the day of the full moon, the day before, and the day after. It’s a time when children dress in traditional clothing and go from house to house collecting treats from their neighbors. When Noor sees the full moon rising, signaling the coming of Girgian, she and her brothers prepare for the fun. Together, they decorate the bags they’ll carry to collect the candies. But along with the fun, Noor remembers the true meaning of Ramadan: spending time with family and sharing with those less fortunate. Ages 7–9. #RamadanReads

The White Nights of Ramadan illustration by Ned Gannon

Time to Pray by Maha Addasi, illustrated by Ned Gannon: A visit with Grandmother in the Middle East is always special for Yasmin, but this time it is even more so in this picture book about faith and family. On her first night visiting her grandmother, Yasmin is wakened by the muezzin at the nearby mosque calling the faithful to prayer. She watches from her bed as her grandmother prepares to pray. During her stay, Yasmin’s grandmother makes her prayer clothes, buys her a prayer rug, and teaches her the five prayers that Muslims perform over the course of a day. When it’s time for Yasmin to board a plane and return home, her grandmother gives her a present. When Yasmin opens the present when she gets home, she discovers a prayer clock in the shape of a mosque, with an alarm that sounds like a muezzin calling the faithful to prayer. Features text both in English and Arabic. Ages 7–9.

A Time to Pray illustration by Ned Gannon

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors by Hena Khan, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini: Magnificently capturing the colorful world of Islam for the youngest readers, this breathtaking and informative picture book celebrates Islam’s beauty and traditions. From a red prayer rug to a blue hijab, everyday colors are given special meaning as young readers learn about clothing, food, and other important elements of Islamic culture, with a young Muslim girl as a guide. Ages 3–6. #RamadanReads

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns illustration by Mehrdokht Amini

A Party in Ramadan by Asma Mobin-Uddin, illustrated by Laura Jacobsen: Ramadan is coming, and Leena is excited. Although she is too young to fast every day during the Muslim religious festival, Leena decides to fast each Friday instead. When Leena receives an invitation to a party which happens to fall on Friday, she has a dilemma. She doesn’t want to miss the party, but she doesn’t want to miss fasting either. So Leena decides to go to the party, but not eat or drink anything at all. Later, she will join her family for the meal known as iftar, when the daily fast is broken. But when Leena, the only Muslim at the party, sees her friends enjoying fresh lemonade and chocolate cake, her stomach starts to growl and her head begins to hurt. Will she keep her Ramadan fast? Ages 7–9. #RamadanReads

Drummer Girl by Hiba Masood, illustrated by Hoda Hadadi: Year after year, in the blessed month of Ramadan, little Najma has happily arisen to the drum beat of her neighborhood’s musaharati. He walks through the streets of her small Turkish village, waking each family for the pre-dawn meal before the long day of fasting. Najma wants nothing more than to be a musaharati herself one day, but no girl has ever taken on the role before. Will she have what it takes to be the drummer girl of her dreams? Find out in this inspirational story of sincerity, determination, and believing in yourself. Ages 4–8. #RamadanReads

Drummer Girl illustration by Hoda Hadadi

Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story by Hena Khan, illustrated by Julie Paschkis: this sweet tale follows Yasmeen, a seven-year-old Pakistani-American girl, as she celebrates the Muslim holidays of Ramadan, “The Night of the Moon” (Chaand Raat), and Eid. With lush illustrations that evoke Islamic art, this beautiful story offers a peek into modern Muslim culture — and into the ancient roots of its most cherished traditions. Ages 5–6. #RamadanReads

Muhiima’s Quest by Rahma Rodah, illustrated by Daria Horb: Although her family does not celebrate birthdays, Muhiima wakes on the morning of her 10th birthday to an unusual surprise. Her mother gives her a carefully drawn map with instructions not to ask questions, but to simply follow the map. Muhiima sets off on her bicycle to begin a quest that will take her all around town. At each destination on the map she is gifted with an important message and a mysterious little box. Travel with Muhiima on her journey and discover how the pieces of this puzzle come together. Muhiima’s Quest is a story of self-discovery and a celebration of diversity with the message that our heritage and faith are what make us unique and special. Ages 4–8.

Muhiima’s Quest illustration by Daria Horb

The Conscious Kid is an education, research and policy organization dedicated to cultivating equity, uplifting counter-narratives, and promoting positive identity development in youth. We partner with organizations, children’s museums, schools, and families across the country to promote critical literacy and access to children’s books centering underrepresented and oppressed groups. Connect with us on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and our website: theconsciouskid.org.