Parents' Guide to

Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 4+

Poetic call to be proud of your heritage in a diverse world.

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A father's advice to his daughter about her mixed Indigenous Mexican and Muslim heritage reads as both intensely personal and widely universal, airily poetic and solidly concrete. In Yo Soy Muslim, author Mark Gonzales' lyrical text elevates thorny discussions of faith and background, and presents them in ways kids can understand. He moves, for instance, from innocent, kid-like questions -- "Why wasn't I born with wings?" -- to "questions this world will ask. What are you? And where are you from? And there will come a day when some people in the world will not smile at you." With the repeated refrain "Yo soy Muslim," he counsels his daughter to remember "I am from Allah, angels, and a place almost as old as time ... Yo soy Muslim. Our prayers were here before any borders were." By connecting his daughter to her heritage, he reminds her, as he so poignantly puts it, that she’s "an ancestor in training."

The art, by Mehrdokht Amini, is lovely and inviting -- colorful, with a folk-art feel. The father and daughter are shown flying through the sky, and you can feel the family's love. The book represents Muslim kids and families in a positive light, providing a mirror for Muslim kids, and a window for readers of all backgrounds.

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