When Houston mom-of-three Saira Siddiqui started her blog, Confessions of a Muslim MOMmaholic, six years ago, she hoped it would provide a different narrative than so many others. “I’m the child of immigrants, a Muslim-American, and a social activist, but writing about motherhood is a common thread that transcends labels and boundaries,” she says. We asked Siddiqui—who’s pursuing her Ed.D. in social education—to share a short (by no means complete!) list of books to give kids perspective on the world around them.
“José lives with his mamá and papá in California, until Mamá is deported to Mexico for not having her citizenship papers. I love that this book takes a closer look at families struggling with legal status and helps children realize how much we have in common. It gives face and heart to people many kids might not know personally but whom they hear about in the media.” Ages 5 to 8, $10
“A girl who visits her grandmother in her small Palestinian village learns to communicate through the shared language of the heart. This story shows what life is like for many U.S. families separated by land and by language.” Ages 5 to 8, $8
“At just 14, Malawian William Kamkwamba used scrap metal and old bicycle parts to build a windmill, bringing electricity to his home and village. This book about overcoming adversity is all the more powerful because it’s a true story.” Picture-book edition (ages 6 to 8), $18; or young readers’ edition (ages 10 and older), $9
“A little girl from Korea named Unhei finds herself in a new country and a new school. She hesitates to tell the other students her name. Instead, she says she’ll select a new name from a jar. I love that she ultimately realizes the beauty in the name her parents have chosen for her and learns to value that over fitting in.” Ages 3 to 7, $8
“This story is about a Muslim girl who is excited to begin fasting for Ramadan but is scared that her classmates won’t understand. Its story can help bridge the divide between Muslim students and their peers.” Ages 5 to 8, $17