Written by: Saadia Faruqi
Illustrated by: Hatem Aly
For ages: 5-8 years
Language: English & Urdu (glossary in back)
Topics Covered: Own Voices, Pakistani Muslim Family, Friendship.
This 12 book series (we have 3) is all about Yasmin, a bright and kind young girl whose family is proud of their Pakistani heritage. The stories revolve are Yasmin, and are early chapter books. I love books like this because they’re essentially still picture books but are broken up into three chapters for readers.
These books are sweet, short, stories. This series is a wonderful example of books that teach kindness, friendship and problem-solving skills to readers. Yasmin’s books are not to teach solely about being Pakistani or Muslim, but we pick up facts and Urdu words incidentally throughout reading. Just like reading books that exemplify Black and Brown joy, having Muslim characters that aren’t overcoming racism or adversity is just as crucial. I also love the facts about Pakistan at the back of each book, and the Urdu glossary. Definitely worth checking out if you have a reader that is ready for a step up from a typical picture book, but still wants to see enchanting illustrations when reading.
Saadia Faruqi is a Pakistani American author, essayist and interfaith activist. She writes the children’s early reader series Yasmin published by Capstone and other books for children, including middle grade novels A Place At The Table (HMH/Clarion 2020) co-written with Laura Shovan, and A Thousand Questions (Harper Collins 2020). She has also written Brick Walls: Tales of Hope & Courage from Pakistan a short story collection for adults and teens. Saadia is editor-in-chief of Blue Minaret, a magazine for Muslim art, poetry and prose, and was featured in Oprah Magazine in 2017 as a woman making a difference in her community. She resides in Houston, TX with her husband and children.
Hatem Aly is an an “Egyptian-born illustrator whose work has been featured on television and in multiple publications worldwide. Hatem currently lives in New Brunswick, Canada, with his wife, son, and more pets than people. When Hatem am not dealing with dogs barking and blank pieces of paper waiting to be filled, he draws, a lot. One of the books he drew is The Inquisitor’s Tale by Adam Gidwitz which won awards despite illustrations of a farting dragon, a 2 headed cat and stinky cheese.
Other books Hatem has illustrated are: Taksheera (Words by: Naseeba Alozeibi), and The Giant Egg (by: Thuraya Khaled)”