The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad with S.K. Ali, art by Hatem Aly

The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family
Art by Hatem Aly
Purchased with district funds for my school library
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family is narrated with lucidity, beauty and a deep love by Faizah, younger sister of Asiya, who begins the story by shopping for her first-day hijab. Through Faizah's eyes, readers experience the excitement of watching Asiya choose the perfect color hijab, "the color of the ocean, if you squint your eyes and pretend there's no line between the water and the sky," followed by the excitement of the first day of school with Faizah in her new light-up shoes and Asiya in her new hijab. Faizah's enthusiasm, elation and pride for this significant moment in her big sister's life are infectious. As the sisters arrive at school Faizah becomes aware of how her classmates take notice of Asiya's hijab, some of them viewing it as different and "other," some of them bullying Asiya. Faizah remembers her mother's wise, reassuring words, "The first day of wearing hijab is important. . . It means being strong. . . Some people won't understand your hijab. . . But if you understand who you are, one day they will too." As her day unfolds, so do Faizah's emotions, ranging from bursting joy and excitement to caution, concern and fear. Seeing Asiya bullied on the playground during recess, Faizah again remembers her mother's words, "Don't carry around the hurtful words that others say. Drop them. They are not yours to keep. They belong only to those who said them." Faizah ends her day feeling pride and strength as she reunites with her sister who is, "smiling. Strong."  

With unforgettable clarity, Faizah's narrative shows readers of the meaning and importance of wearing hijab, conveying beautifully the deep love, joy and connection that this tradition brings families. In her author's note, Olympic medalist Muhammad shares her experience wearing hijab everyday and the  bullying she faced because of the way she showed her faith along with her drive to "tell this story so that children who look like me could see themselves in a picture book - a story of family, love and faith." In fact, Muhammad named the characters in this book after her sisters! 

Also by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Books illustrated by Hatem Aly
written by Saadia Faruqi

Written by Adam Gidwitz

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