Muslims in Story: Expanding Multicultural Understanding through Children’s and Young Adult Literature

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"Our approach has been to find common ground and build respect, understanding and tolerance from the ground up, and that’s what we would encourage all librarians to do as well. Children are very open and curious and by offering a wide array of titles to choose from librarians can play a key role in fostering their curiosity and building community in multiple ways."

Read an interview with the authors now!

Islamophobia, a long standing, deeply entrenched global issue, disrupts civil society at many levels, from anti-Muslim policies to heightened tensions and hate crimes, including the increased bullying of Muslim children. One of the root causes of Islamophobia is ignorance, often fueled by stereotyped and negative portrayals of Muslims in media and popular culture. Muslims in Story is a timely and proactive approach to tackling this issue, by engendering friendships and empathy through quality children's and young adult literature. Exposing children in their formative years to positive stories about Muslims can go a long way to creating a multicultural understanding by cementing ideas of tolerance, respect, and acceptance. This resource

  • recommends books that will act as windows and mirrors for PreK–12 readers by showcasing diverse foods, dress, and traditions;
  • spotlights curated titles that feature Muslim kids as heroes, Islamic contributions throughout history, inspiring Muslim leaders, and folktales from Islamic traditions;
  • includes helpful information such as an overview of Muslims in America, author interviews that lend insights into the stories, and hands-on programming activities and discussion tools; and
  • provides a list of additional resources for gaining a better understanding of Islam.

This book will equip public and school library staff, including educators and collection development librarians, to make real change in their communities by validating lived experiences of Muslim kids and building a stronger sense of empathy, respect, and understanding towards Muslims.

Foreword: Let’s Counter Islamophobia through Stories

Part I    Why Counter Islamophobia through Stories?

  • Chapter 1    An Overview of Muslims in America
  • Chapter 2    Islamophobia and Its Impact
  • Chapter 3    Using Literature to Create Long-Term Systemic Change

Part II     Reframing the Narrative through Curated Book Lists and Programming Ideas

  • Chapter 4    Muslim Kids as Heroes: Connecting across Cultures
  • Chapter 5    Inspiring Muslim Leaders and Thinkers: Showcasing Current and Historical Contributions
  • Chapter 6    Celebrating Islam: Understanding Religious Practices and Traditions
  • Chapter 7    Folktales from Islamic Traditions: Drawing Wisdom from Tall Tales


  • Appendix A    Frequently Asked Questions on Islam
  • Appendix B    Suggested Guidelines to Evaluate Muslim Children’s Literature
  • Appendix C    Timeline of Muslims in America
  • Appendix D    Glossary: A Few Unfamiliar Words
  • Appendix E    Suggested Educational Resources


Gauri Manglik

Gauri Manglik is the CEO and founder of KitaabWorld, a literary organization that spreads awareness about South Asian children s literature in the United States. As a first-generation immigrant mother raising her two boys in California, she felt strongly about advocating for increased diversity in children s literature in schools and libraries. Prior to founding KitaabWorld, Manglik practiced law for more than twelve years and advised a number of start-ups as they disrupted conventional ways of doing things. Inspired by their innovative thinking, Manglik followed her own passion to disrupt the world of children s literature and bring marginalized voices to the table. She has written numerous articles and research papers in various journals including Tax Notes International and Teaching Tolerance.

Sadaf Siddique

Sadaf Siddique is cofounder and chief creative officer at KitaabWorld. Her background in journalism and her work in print, documentaries, and online media in India and the United States has focused on innovative ideas for social change. She was part of the research and editorial team on social impact-investing at Omidyar Network. She led editorial strategy at Link TV's Dear American Voter, an interactive project on global perspectives on the 2008 U.S. election. Siddique also has experience in managing content acquisitions as editorial manager for Imagining Ourselves, an award-winning, multilingual and multimedia online exhibit, and she was part of the team at Devi Pictures that produced female-oriented films such as Unlimited Girls. Her writings have appeared in Hyphen Magazine, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Dawn, The Hindu, Indian Express, and the Times of India.

"Each chapter includes a theme explanation, book summary, and book awards. Many entries include ideas for further engagement, discussion starters, and book quotes, all of which would be helpful in planning book-related activities, discussions, and programs ... The appendixes are thoughtfully prepared and include frequently asked questions about Islam, a timeline for Muslims in America, a glossary of unfamiliar words, and practitioner tools such as guidelines for evaluating Muslim children’s literature, and suggested educational resources."

"Appendixes include frequently asked questions about Islam, guidelines for evaluating Muslim children’s literature, educational resources, a time line of Muslims in America, and a glossary of words used in the text in Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, Bangla, and other languages ... This timely and essential purchase for public and school libraries humanizes Muslims and gives Muslim children authentic mirrors while creating important windows for non-Muslim readers."
— School Library Journal

"Designed to build bridges, the book offers librarians and educators a rich list of relevant and engaging current titles on which to draw ... No comparable bibliography exists, so this book is a required resource for those who study children's literature or serve children in libraries and classrooms."