cover image Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter

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

Mark Gonzales, illus. by Mehrdokht Amini. Salaam Reads, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-4814-8936-2

Newcomer Gonzales, a Latino poet and convert to Islam, invites his daughter to take pride in her identity and heritage as a “child of crescent moons/ a builder of mosques,/ a descendent of brilliance,/ an ancestor in training.” Addressing, by extension, all Spanish-speaking Muslim youth—a growing group in the U.S.—and anticipating adversity at a time when hostility toward Muslims is on the rise, he exhorts readers to stay strong when people “will not smile at you”: “Tell them this: Yo soy Muslim./ I am from Allah, angels,/ and a place almost as old as time.” Iranian artist Amini’s (Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns) folk-art-style human figures have deep, soulful eyes that convey compassion. Realistic urban scenes give way to mythical fantasies: in one, the girl flies with a flock of swans above the minarets of a mosque. This intensely personal book is not meant as an introduction to Islam; instead, it speaks directly to Muslim children growing up in a place where they may be marked as different—children in need of a voice to recognize and speak for them. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)