As a librarian in a research library, it shouldn’t come to anyone’s surprise that I don’t come in contact with too many young adults or teens in my daily working life. When I had my stint in the world of Public Libraries, I held my own at the Youth Desk but I’m more in my element amongst people doing some research. But what kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone every once and a while? A bad one, that’s what!
Anyway, I had a teen come into my library today asking for some novels about Muslim Teenagers. She got my blind spot! I had a couple of books for her in my library but the problem was that only a fraction of the books about Muslim Teens were also about Arabs. Several Muslim Teen books have South Asian, Iranian or Afghani main characters, which means they are not within the narrow parameters of my Special Library. Does this stop me? NAY! Actually this is a pretty common occurrence for me and I usually ask what their public library or university is and find out where they can borrow the books we do not have.
I had to consult a couple internetz sources like blogs, Goodreads and a website called Muslimah Media Watch but I got a list together and found all of them for her, either at her home library or through the statewide borrowing program, Michigan eLibrary. As always, it was interesting to see how many books about Muslim Teens, particularly Muslim girls were written by non-Muslim authors, which always run the risk of stereotyping out of control. If you have read my entry about my Sheikh Collection, you know that the issue of stereotyping, race and representation in literature is an important subject for me so I was worried about accidentally recommending books that were offensive.
Not every book needs to be about terrorism or Guantanamo Bay, similarly the book doesn’t have to ignore the fact that Muslim Teens go through some unique situations. The problem is that there are so few books written about Muslim Teens that each book is judged for how well it represents all the diversity within the religion, which is impossible to do. So while surely there are problems with each of the books on this list, it’s important to remember that they are not going to represent every experience.
If you’re interested, here is my list:
- Abdel-Fattah, Randa. 2007. Does my head look big in this? New York: Orchard Books.
- Abdel-Fattah, Randa. 2009. Ten things I hate about me. New York: Orchard Books.
- Budhos, Marina Tamar. 2006. Ask me no questions. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
- Fletcher, Susan. 1998. Shadow spinner. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
- Haswaréy, Shaylene. 2011. The hijabi club. Shelbyville, KY: Wasteland Press.
- Husain, Aliya. 2010. Neither this nor that. lulu.com
- Jarrar, Randa. 2008. A map of home: a novel. New York: Other Press.
- Kahf, Mohja. 2006. The girl in the tangerine scarf: a novel. New York: Carroll & Graf.
- Karim, Sheba. 2009. Skunk girl. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux.
- Mahmoodian, Maryam. 2008. Muslim teens in pitfalls and pranks. Tempe, Ariz: Muslim Writers Pub.
- Qamar, Amjed. 2008. Beneath my mother’s feet. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.
- Robert, Na’íma bint. 2010. Boy vs. girl. London: Frances Lincoln Children’s.
Download the PDF of the bibliography HERE