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    May 19, 2020

    Here Are The Ramadan Reads You'll Want To Get Your Hands On As Recommended By Muslim Authors

    *Adds every single book to my to-read list.*

    Samira Ahmed, author of Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know and Internment, recommends...

    Erielle Bakkum Photography

    The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf

    Salaam Reads, Azalia Suhaimi

    Samira says: Set during the Kuala Lumpur race riots in 1969, this YA historical fiction gives American readers an rare lens onto the life beyond our borders as the main character struggles with her mental health issues during a terrifying 24 hours when she's separated from her mother and has to dig deep to find courage and battle her (maybe literal) demons.

    What it's about: Melati, a music-loving teen with OCD, is separated from her mother when race riots between the Chinese and the Malays break out in Kuala Lumpur. And finding her mother required her to put trust in a Chinese boy named Vincent.

    Get it from Bookshop for $17.47, Barnes and Noble for $18.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

    Pantheon Books, Via goodreads.com

    Samira says: A graphic novel and memoir about growing up in Iran during the Revolution, this story is both heart wrenching and humorous as it measures the cost of war on both individual and nation. It's about grit and resilience and about finding your way in surreal and dangerous times.

    What it's about: Collected in one volume, Persepolis is the coming of age graphic memoir of Marjane Satrapi. Starting in Tehran in the 1970s and continuing into 1996, Persepolis follows Satrapi through high school and all the way to her self-imposed exile from her homeland. Widely acclaimed and appearing on many a school reading list, Satrapi's memoir is a modern classic.

    Get it from Bookshop for $23.36, Barnes and Noble for $23.95, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Discontent and its Civilizations by Mohsin Hamid

    Riverhead Books, Via goodreads.com

    Samira says: A stunning and insightful collection of essays from Mohsin Hamid, one of my favorite authors. These dispatches from Lahore, New York and London examine identity, how the political is personal, and what it means to straddle worlds, an eternal outsider in each.

    What it's about: In Discontent and its Civilizations, Mohsin Hamid, author of the acclaimed Exit West which Samira has told me to read at least 500 times, explores his own life and the world around him through a series of essays. Whether it is remarking on the inside view of Pakistan, discussing the impact of globalization, or commenting on the relationship between the Western world and Islam, Hamid's writing shines on every single page.

    Get it from Bookshop for $14.72, Barnes and Noble for $16.00, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    About Samira Ahmed's Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know and Internment

    Soho Teen, Little, Brown

    Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know: Khayyam, an American girl in Paris, is trying not to think about her messy life back at home. But as she broods in the City of Light, she comes across a descendant of writer Alexandre Dumas. Together, they begin to connect allusions in the art and writings of Dumas, Delacroix, and Byron to a 19th-century Muslim woman named Leila.

    Get it from Bookshop for $17.47, Barnes and Noble for $18.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Internment: In a United States set five minutes in the future, Layla and her parents are forced into an internment camp for Muslim Americans. Banding together with her boyfriend on the outside, as well as new friends inside the camp, she leads a revolution against the Director of the camp and his guards.

    Get it from Bookshop for $10.11, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    S. K. Ali, author of Love From A to Z and co-editor of Once Upon an Eid, recommends...

    Andrea Stenson

    No True Believers by Rabiah York Lumbard

    Crown, Via rabiahyorklumbard.com

    S. K. says: No True Believers is a mystery with a question at its heart: how do we move toward bigotry and hatred — does it happen due to events outside of us or does it take place stealthily, on the inside? Salma, the main character, tackles this and more as a strong-willed sleuth trying to uncover the perpetrators of the crime she's been falsely accused of.

    What it's about: After a terrorist bombing nearby, Salma Bakkioui finds Islamaphobia tightening it's grip in her suburban cul-de-sac. She and her boyfriend Amir find themselves with few allies, as the two come become suspects for the bombing. Attempting to discover who is framing them, Salma stumbles upon a deadly conspiracy with ties to her new neighbors.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    That Can Be Arranged by Huda Fahmy

    Andrews McMeel, Via goodreads.com

    S. K. says: That Can Be Arranged is the book I wished I had when I was a teen, wondering if it was weird that my (and my friends') romantic relationships were so full of pining, furtive detective work, social-distance talking, and involved a LOT of people (ugh!) — all eerily similar to Jane Austen novels. Then Huda comes along and writes this perfect and hilarious book assuring us all that we're definitely not weird, just Muslims from Austenistan!

    What it's about: This graphic memoir tells the story of how Huda Fahmy met and married her husband. Navigating mismatched suitors, prying aunties, and the general societal expectations for Muslim women, Fahmy uses art and humor to reveal what searching for a husband as a twenty-first century observant Muslim woman can be like.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Barnes and Noble for $16.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    The Light at the Bottom of the World by London Shah

    Little, Brown, London Shah

    S. K. says: While on first glance, this is a gorgeous, undersea sci-fi thriller with twists and turns that keep readers turning pages, The Light At The Bottom Of The World, goes leagues deeper (pardon the pun!), and engages in critical issues of our times, like the role of the state in manufacturing consent from the masses. I can't wait for the sequel!

    What it's about: In the last days of the twenty-first century, London is living underwater. After her father is arrested on false charges, Leyla McQueen searches desperately for a way to free him. She gets the chance, when she is scheduled to participate in the annual submersible marathon, where the grand prize is a favor from the Prime Minister. But when something unexpected occurs during the race, it is up to Leyla to defy a corrupt government determined to keep their secrets.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    About S. K. Ali's Once Upon an Eid and Love From A to Z

    Amulet, Salaam Reads

    Once Upon an Eid: This brilliant anthology features incredible authors such as G. Willow Wilson (Alif the Unseen, Ms. Marvel), Hena Khan (Amina's Voice, Under My Hijab), Randa Abdel-Fattah (Does My Head Look Big in This?), and more! Co-edited with New York Times Bestseller Aisha Saeed, this collection of short stories focuses on the most joyful holiday of the year: Eid!

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Love from A to Z: After confronting her Islamaphobic teacher and being suspended, she takes the opportunity to start spring break early and head to her aunt's house in Doha, Qatar. And that's when Adam crosses her path. He's been keeping his multiple sclerosis diagnosis a secret from his family, who is all still reeling from the loss of his mother. Both are keeping secrets, but both are keeping journals of the different marvels and oddities in their lives. And them stumbling upon each other? A marvel and an oddity.

    Get it from Bookshop for $11.03, Barnes and Noble for $11.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Hanna Alkaf, author of The Girl and the Ghost and The Weight of Our Sky, recommends...

    Azalia Suhaimi

    The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi

    Salaam Reads, Linda Rosier

    Hanna says: Besides the fact that it's just a really fun, well-written adventure story, it happens to be a fun, well-written adventure story with a hijabi main character. And it's so rare that we get stories — particularly in MG — that don't center around pain and oppression.

    What it's about: When Farah first laid eyes on the board game The Gauntlet of Blood and Sand, she was intrigued. But the thing about this game is that it pulls the players in — in this case, Farah's younger brother. Diving into the game after him, she finds herself in the center of a, ancient magic-filled, steampunk game. But the game doesn't let its players go easily, and in order to keep them trapped...it cheats.

    Get it from Bookshop for $8.27, Barnes and Noble for $8.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Amina's Voice by Hena Khan

    Salaam Reads, Via henakhan.com

    Hanna says: Amina is 12, and that isn't an age so far in my past that I don't remember what an utterly confusing time it was. I wish I could go back and hand little Hanna this book, where Amina learns to be true to herself, her friendships, her family and her faith, so she could learn to be comfortable in her own skin too.

    What it's about: Middle school feels different for Amina. She used to just hang out with her best friend Soojin, but now Soojin is suddenly hanging out with one of the "cool" girls in class and considering changing her name to something more "American." And while dealing with Soojin changing, and wondering if she should change too, Amina also has to worry about the fact that her local mosque was just vandalized.

    Get it from Bookshop for $7.35, Barnes and Noble for $7.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    I Hope You Get This Message by Farah Naz Rishi

    HarperCollins, Via goodreads.com

    Hanna says: Come for the aliens and the end of the world, stay for the lyrical exploration of relationships — between friends, between family, between strangers — and the resilience of the human spirit.

    What it's about: There are seven days left until the world ends. That's what is being reported at least...that in seven days a planet named Alma will hit the kill switch on Earth. Three teens react to this news in very different ways. Cate wants to use the last week to track down the father she never met. Adeem is deciding whether he can forgive his sister for leaving. And Jesse isn't even sure if he cares what happens to the world.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes and Noble for $16.49, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed

    Puffin, Via goodreads.com

    Hanna says: Does one need more justification to read a book than a cover that says "by Aisha Saeed," or is that just me? It helps that it's a brilliant, hopeful book despite the heavy and often heart-wrenching topics it deals with.

    What it's about: When Amal accidentally insults a member of her village's ruling family, she is forced to go work at their estate, leaving her home and family behind. While she's doing what she can to survive, she's also growing aware of exactly what it is the Khan family is willing to do to stay in control. And if no one is willing to challenge them, things will never change. So Amal must find a way to work with the other servants to try and ensure the safety of her loved ones and win back her freedom.

    Get it from Bookshop for $8.27, Barnes and Noble for $8.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    About Hanna Alkaf's The Girl and the Ghost and The Weight of Our Sky

    HarperCollins, Salaam Reads

    The Girl and the Ghost: When Suraya is gifted a pelesit, she names the ghostly companion Pink. But Pink is not keen on sharing, and when Suraya begins to make a new friend, Pink's jealousy grows dangerous, threatening to consume them both.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Barnes and Noble for $16.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    The Weight of Our Sky: See Samira's recommendation (number 1 on this post!)

    Get it from Bookshop for $17.47, Barnes and Noble for $18.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Saadia Faruqi, author of A Thousand Questions and Meet Yasmin!, recommends...

    QZB Photography

    Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal

    Ballantine, Via soniahkamal.com

    Saadia says: This Pakistani retelling of Pride and Prejudice gripped me and wouldn't let me go. Part scathing commentary on social norms in Pakistan, part deliciously hilarious antics of young people everywhere, I was literally blown away by this story.

    What it's about: The Binat family fortune, as well as prospects for desirable marriages, were decimated by a vicious rumor and scandal. When an invitation to the biggest wedding in their small town arrives, Mrs. Binat starts prepping her daughters. But Alys, the second of the five Binat daughters, has sworn never to marry. And the unimpressed Valentine Darsee certainly is not about to change that...right?

    Get it from Bookshop for $14.72, Barnes and Noble for $16.00, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    More Than Just a Pretty Face by Syed M. Masood

    Little, Brown, Samantha May

    Saadia says: This young adult novel is lighthearted and so deliciously Muslim. I enjoyed every aspect of it, from the realistically lovable characters to the food descriptions, and the fact that a Muslim story can just be a love story.

    What it's about: Danyal just was selected for Renaissance Man, a school-wide academic championship, where he's determined to prove that he's smarter than they think. After all, Kaval, his long time crush, has a family who considers him less than ideal in terms of arranged marriage prospects, despite the fact he's funny and gorgeous. But while training for the competition, he recruits Bisma for help, and as they spend time together, the more he realizes that happiness might have a different form.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    The Gift of Ramadan by Rabiah York Lumbard, illustrated by Laura K. Horton

    Albert Whitman, Via goodreads.com

    Saadia says: I love Ramadan books in general, because I want this special holiday I and my family celebrate to be widely known. The Gift of Ramadan has all the wonderful elements of Ramadan that I remember from my childhood: lights and lanterns and family meals and grandmothers.

    What it's about: In this picture book, Sophia wants to fast for Ramadan. Even though she tries to keep busy so she won't think about food, the smell of cookies is too much. Could she still be part of the festivities even though she broke her fast early?

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Barnes and Noble for $16.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    About Saadia Faruqi's A Thousand Questions and Meet Yasmin!

    HarperCollins, Picture Window

    A Thousand Questions: Mimi is spending the summer with grandparents she's never met in Karachi, Pakistan. The cook's daughter, Sakina, who works with her Abba in a rich family's kitchen, hasn't told her parents that if she improves her English test score, she'll be accepted to school. Though the two girls seem to have nothing in common at first, they get to know each other as the summer goes on, and realize that the other is the key to getting what they want most.

    Get it from Bookshop for $15.63, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Meet Yasmin!: See Syed's recommendation (number 16 on this post!)

    Get it from Bookshop for $5.47, Barnes and Noble for $5.95, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Syed M. Masood, author of More Than Just a Pretty Face and The Bad Muslim Discount, recommends...

    Samantha May

    Yo Soy Muslim by Mark Gonzales, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini

    Salaam Reads, Nurain Jamal

    Syed says: My voice broke as I read my son the truth that "there will come a day when some people in the world will not smile at you." Uplifting, powerful and crafted with love, this lyrical book is a brilliant exploration of Muslim and Latino identity that I will be reading to my children for years to come.

    What it's about: Yo Soy Muslim is a picture book written as a letter from a father to his daughter, encouraging their child to find joy and pride in their multicultural identity. Mark Gonzales, a Muslim and Latino poet, writes in gorgeous verse and the accompanying illustrations are sure to dazzle adults and children alike.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

    Grove Press, Via goodreads.com

    Syed says: Before she wrote Ms. Marvel or began working on Wonder Woman, Wilson wrote a book set during the Arab Spring featuring hackers, djinn, vampires and mystical housecats. It is a story without limits, exploring love, faith, identity, tech and mythology, all while being a really fun adventure.

    What it's about: Alif, a young Arab-Indian hacker, shields his clients from surveillance in an unnamed Middle Eastern security state. The woman he loves jilted him for a prince, and his clients have been put on the line after a breach by the state's electronic security force. After being forced underground, he discovers the secret book of the jinn, The Thousand and One Days, leading to a struggle for life or death.

    Get it from Bookshop for $14.72, Barnes and Noble for $16.00, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi

    Picture Window Books, QZB Photography

    Syed says: It's difficult to keep things from becoming cliche and the phrase "representation matters" is like that because you hear it all the time, so while it feels true, it also feels abstract. Then your five year old comes up to you with a copy of MEET YASMIN!, eyes wide, and says "Daddy, Yasmin is just like me!" and suddenly you really get it.

    What it's about: Meet Yasmin! Yasmin is a second-grader from a Pakistani American family who is always looking to solve problems. Using her imagination, she tries to come up with creative solutions to any situation...as long as her imagination doesn't get too big!

    Get it from Bookshop for $5.47, Barnes and Noble for $5.95, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    About Syed M. Massood's The Bad Muslim Discount and More Than Just a Pretty Face

    Knopf Doubleday, Little, Brown

    The Bad Muslim Discount: In 1955 Pakistan, the strident fundamentalists in government and the zealots roaming the streets in gangs convince Anvar's family they need to start life over in California. While his mother and brother fit into the tightly knit Desi community, Anvar is tired of being a good Muslim. Meanwhile, Safwa, a girl in war-torn Baghdad, finds a very different and much more dangerous path to America.

    Get it from Bookshop for $25.16, Barnes and Noble for $27.95, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    More Than Just a Pretty Face: See Saadia's recommendation (number 12 on this post!)

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Cam Montgomery, author of By Any Means Necessary and Home and Away, recommends...

    A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

    HarperCollins, Via taherehbooks.com

    Cam says: A Very Large Expanse of Sea was the Tahereh YA I didn't know I would (pun intended) drown without. I love Tahereh Mafi for a lot of reasons, but AVLEOS was such a poignant look at one of the most pivotal moments in history. 9/11 hit everyone so differently, but it touched no one in the same way it did Muslims, and Mafi shows us that.

    What it's about: Shirin is living in post-9/11 2002, and she's exhausted. She's over the comments, the stares, the violence, and she refuses to let anyone get close enough to hurt her. Her frustrations are drowned in the afternoons she spends break-dancing with her brother. But when she meets Ocean James, a boy who seems to want to get to know her, she isn't sure whether she'll be able to let her guard down for him.

    Get it from Bookshop for $10.11, Barnes and Noble for $9.89, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Not the Girls You're Looking For by Aminah Mae Safi

    Macmillan, Kirsten Gilliam Photography

    Cam says: Not The Girls You're Looking For is one of those books I read and IMMEDIATELY knew I wanted to be friends with the author. Lucky for ME (*brag brag bragggg*), I am. HI, AMINAH! Aminah Mae Safi has crafted a story that brings the most contemporary, relevant and relatable feelings to the forefront. Voice is impeccable. Humor is on point. Depth is undeniable. It was written for the "Today" Muslimahs.

    What it's about: Lulu might have caused a scene at a party during Ramadan, but it's totally fine. I mean, she's got her three best friends by her side, and there was that guy that, for half a minute, she thought she'd drowned at the party. Except for the part where it's not, since she did more damage than she realized. And to find a way out of this mess, she'll have to find herself.

    Get it from Bookshop for $10.11, Barnes and Noble for $10.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin

    Berkley, Via goodreads.com

    Cam says: Ayesha At Last has this one line about "sunshine in your heart." That is precisely what this book is. It has the AUDACITY to be so romantic, I momentarily considered reactivating my Tinder account. Retellings are a new love of mine, but it would be a lie to say this book wasn't the spark to light that fire.

    What it's about: In this Pride and Prejudice retelling, Ayesha is working a teaching job to pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. Constantly reminded by her boisterous Muslim family that Hafsa, her younger cousin, is constantly being proposed to (and rejecting the offers). While Ayesha doesn't want an arranged marriage, she is a little lonely. And when she meets Khalid, who is smart and handsome and a little judgmental, she quickly becomes torn when his engagement to Hafsa is announced.

    Get it from Bookshop for $14.72, Barnes and Noble for $14.50, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    About Cam Montgomery's By Any Means Necessary and Home and Away

    Page Street

    By Any Means Necessary: Before he even gets to college orientation, Torrey gets a call telling him the bee farm left to him by his beloved uncle is being foreclosed on by the bank. He's the first member of his family to go to college, but he also knows he can't let his uncle's legacy vanish without a fight. Now, Torrey is juggling his old life, his new classes, and his (sort of) new boyfriend while trying to keep the vision he had of his future as a possibility.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

    Home and Away: Tasia is Black, fabulous, and is the only girl on the football team at her private high school. Oh, and she's just caught her mother stuffing a mysterious box in the closet. Learning that her biological father is white, she begins reevaluating her identity, and tries to find a way to stop fighting who she is.

    Get it from Bookshop for $16.55, Barnes and Noble for $17.99, or from a local bookstore through Indiebound here.

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