Written by: Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Illustrated by: Ebony Glenn
For ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Family, Love, Islam, Muslim Identity, POC-Centric Narratives, Culture & Traditions.
Summary: This book is about a little girl and how much she loves her mother’s khimars. She goes into her closet and looks at all of the colorful scarves, finally choosing her favorite yellow one. When she puts on the yellow khimar, she shines like the sun, becomes a superhero, and a mother bird able to protect her little brother while he naps. We also meet the narrator’s grandmother, who doesn’t wear a hijab or go to mosque. The narrator says they all love each other, and are a family nonetheless. At the mosque, the narrator wears her favorite yellow khimar and is greeted warmly by everyone. At home in the evening, both the narrator and her mother remove their khimars and get ready for bed. She falls asleep dreaming of all the things she can be, and how she feels her mother is with her when she’s wearing that yellow scarf that shines like the sun.
This book’s illustrations are adorable. They excuse happiness and serenity, a family that loves each other and celebrating their religious identity. There are a lot of preconceived notions about Islam and Muslim identity, and this book addresses the freedom the narrator feels to imagine what she can be while wearing her headscarf. The book doesn’t look beyond childhood into adulthood, but instead centers love and affection for the khimar and her mother.
- What is something you love, that makes you feel closer to a family member?
- Do you have any friends that wear khimars?
- Why do you think that particular khimar reminds the narrator so strongly of her mother?
Continuing the Conversation:
- Learn about different religions within your family. What do you think enables you to get along and exist in love like the narrator’s family? Share as a class, and celebrate the religious diversity among the group.
- Explore the neighborhood for different religious buildings. Is something more prevalent in your neighborhood than in others? Why do you think so? Is there a high concentration of a specific community where you live? Are you part of that community, or a different one?
- Sometimes, people are intolerant of those different from them. Learn how to be brave and stand up for others. Whether it’s about a game, bullying, or religious difference, we should be supportive of each other and build relationships that celebrate diversity and inclusion rather than homogeneity.
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow is a passionate educator, anti-racism activist, wife, and mother of two. She is a 2016 MuslimARC Muslim Anti-Racism–AMEL Fellow. She lives in Philadelphia with her family. Mommy’s Khimar is her first picture book.
Ebony Glenn is an Atlanta based illustrator who enjoys bringing stories to life with whimsical imagery. A passion for the arts, great storytelling, and advocating diversity in children’s books, she aims to create illustrations that will foster a love of reading in young readers. She also loves to create joyful and heartwarming crafts to satisfy her endless need to always make new things. When Ebony is not giving in to her creative itch of art-making, you may find her lost in the pages of a good book, learning some new hula-hooping tricks, or going on an adventure with her pups, Louie and Gabby. Ebony is also the proud recipient of the 2018 Wonders of Childhood Focus Fellowship, an award given by AIR Serenbe, a nonprofit artist residency program of the Serenbe Institute in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia.