cover image Under My Hijab

Under My Hijab

Hena Khan, illus. by Aaliya Jaleel. Lee & Low, $17.95 (32p) ISBN 978-1-62014-792-4

The narrator, a Muslim girl, has many impressive women in her life: her grandmother is a baker, her mother is a doctor, her cousin Iman excels at karate. In public, each of these women wears a hijab in a style that’s as individual as they are; at home or with other women or girls, they uncover their heads, and their chosen hairstyles are equally expressive. When the girl’s aunt, an artist, works in her public studio, “her silky hijab towers up high,/ pinned with a handmade jewel.” But when Auntie is in her own home with the narrator, she shows off an edgy haircut and pink and purple dye. Simple rhyming text by Khan (Amina’s Voice) is a bit on the nose (“Jenna’s our fearless troop leader./ She makes us the gooiest s’mores!/ Her hijab is topped with a sun hat/ whenever we hike outdoors”), and debuting illustrator Jaleel matches this straightforward approach with lifelike tableaus. But their matter-of-fact approach accomplishes what it sets out to do: celebrate the diversity and autonomy of contemporary Muslim women. Ages 4–8. [em]Author’s agent: Matthew Elblonk, DeFiore & Co. (Feb.) [/em]