I have to admit this post is inspired by Hena Khan. I fell in love with Hena Khan’s work, through her book Amina’s Voice. I’ve also spoken with people who talk about the lack of Pakistani American portrayals in children’s literature. So I thought I’d do a feature, focusing on everything from picture books to middle grade and featuring Pakistani-American main characters. I’ve featured books I can find by #ownvoices authors.
Bilal Cooks Daal
Bilal loves cooking daal and wants to share one of his favorite foods with his two friends, Elias and Morgan. They make daal together with his friends helping out with the spices such as turmeric, chili and cumin. But when his friends aren’t certain they are going to like daal (they think it smells funny), Bilal is worried that maybe his friends won’t share his love of daal. But when they sit down to eat Bilal’s friends love the meal. This is a great story for children who worry about sharing their culture with friends.
Written by Aisha Saeed, a founder of We Need Diverse Books and Pakistani-American writer, teacher, and attorney. Illustrated by Anoosha Syed who is a Pakistani-Canadian illustrator and concept artist.
Meet Yasmin is the first in a series of books that tell the story of second-grader Yasmin, who is out to use her big imagination to solve life’s little problems. Bold, creative and curious, Yasmin and her multi-generational Pakistani American family will be sure to win your hearts.
Meet Yasmin is written by Pakistani American writer Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Egyptian-born illustrator Hatem Aly.
More to the Story
A retelling of Little Women set in a Pakistani American family. In this case, Jo is Jameela Mirza who was just picked to be the feature editor in her middle school newspaper. Jameela wants to be an award-winning journalist like a late family member. The head editor keeps shooting down her ideas, and she finds herself writing about a new student, a boy with a British accent who keeps to himself. But how will she make this story engaging enough to win a national media contest?
But things get complicated when Jameela’s family is shaken up by her father taking an overseas job that takes him away from their Georgia home. Jameela, along with her three sisters aren’t sure what to do. Missing her father ignites a fire under Jameela, she’s going to write the best article ever and make her dad proud.
But when her younger sister gets seriously ill, Jameela has to decide what is really important. She has to make the same choice at school where her quest for fame might cost her a friend.
While trying to find out what matters most Jameela wonders whether she’s cut out to be a journalist after all.
Written by Pakistani-American writer Hena Khan.
Come back and see more Blogtober posts and Chapter/Picture Book features.