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Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of Our Time

Book review by
Mandie Caroll, Common Sense Media
Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of Our Time Book Poster Image
Lively bios of remarkable Muslim women inspire, entertain.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Readers will learn about 19 Muslim women who are trail blazers in various fields, including writers, athletes, scholars, politicians, activists, filmmakers from various countries (England, Iran, Kuwait, Somalia, and Pakistan, the United States). 

Positive Messages

Follow your passions. Hard work pays off. Inspire others; be a leader. Don't let others' opinions of you, or actions against you, deter you from your dreams. Rise above.

Positive Role Models & Representations

All the girls and women profiled are great role models for all kids, though the fact that they are all Muslim may be especially important to young Muslim readers. Girls and women of a range of different skin colors from many different countries are represented.

Violence & Scariness

Reference to the war in Syria and refugee camps. The story of Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai refers to her attack and the "violent attempt to end her life" but doesn't go into any other detail.

Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Muslim Girls Rise: Inspirational Champions of Our Time, written by Saira Mir and illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel, is a book about 19 modern Muslim women who are pioneers and change-makers. Each two-page spread features one person with a quote, a brief biography, and an illustration depicting the girl or woman immersed in her passion or work. Parents will recognize some names and stories, such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and U.S. Senator Ilhan Omar. Others will be new, like Maria Toorpakai Wazir, from Pakistan, who lived her childhood as a boy and became a top squash player. The detailed biographical sketches span just half a page, making them appropriate for younger readers and interesting for readers of all ages. There are positive messages about pursuing passions and not letting the haters get you down. A range of Muslim women are represented: They are from diverse occupations and pursuits, some wear hijab and some don't, they reflect a variety of skin tones, and they are from many countries (England, Iran, Kuwait, Somalia, and Pakistan, the United States).

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What's the story?

MUSLIM GIRLS RISE: INSPIRATIONAL CHAMPIONS OF OUR TIME offers brief biographical sketches of 19 girls and women who broke gender and cultural barriers and accomplished extraordinary things with their skills, intelligence, vision, and determination. The book's introduction tells readers that Muslim women today are making history, and "Once upon a time, they were children with dreams just like you." These life stories begin with a woman's name and what she loves or does. They highlight an array of fields, including STEM, writing, fashion, sports, politics, activism, comedy, and more and are from a variety of countries. The soft-hued digital illustrations depict the subject in her element -- competing in her sport, writing, performing onstage, and so on. The closing pages remind readers that though some of these women faced dire circumstances for pursuing their dreams or their rights, they all refused to give up and achieved greatness.

Is it any good?

This heartfelt, lushly illustrated homage to an often-misunderstood group of girls and women is sure to inspire and entertain both young readers and their adult caregivers. Muslim Girls Rise encourages readers to figure out their passions, ignore anyone who says they can't achieve because of who they are, and to pursue their dreams with determination. The art is beautiful, with clean, uncluttered illustrations in soft, warm hues. The book's equally great as a read-aloud or independent reading for older kids, and it shows all readers the many different paths and pursuits open to them.

The introductory page soberly acknowledges, "People may tell you that you can't do something because of the way you look, dress, or pray," but this collection shows readers that children with dreams can and should pursue their passions, and like the 19 women in this book, they can rise.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the different girls and women in Muslim Girls Rise. Which stories do you like best? Why? Which of them had you heard of before? 

  • What kinds of obstacles did these girls and women face as they pursued their dreams? What do you think you'd have done in their position?

  • Why do you think these girls and women were chosen for this book? Do you consider yourself a leader? Do girls still face barriers as they try to achieve great things? 

Book details

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