Muslim and American: Two Perspectives
My Name is Bilal
Grades 2 - 6
From Booklist: Bilal and his sister, Ayesha, who are Muslim, start school in a new city. At first Bilal tries to blend into the largely non-Muslim environment, calling himself Bill and ducking out of sight when two boys try to pull off Ayesha's head scarf. Encouraged by a sympathetic teacher and his own faith, Bilal finds the courage to stand up with his sister the next time the boys tease her. Bilal and Ayesha point out to their adversaries that they too were born in America and that being American means that they can wear what they want. By standing up for his sister, Bilal earns the boys' respect and takes the first step toward a possible friendship. The story is told in picture-book format, though the text is longer than that of most picture books. In the illustrations, the students appear to be in middle school, but the book is accessible to younger children as well. Appearing on nearly every double-page spread, large-scale watercolor paintings clearly portray the actions and attitudes of the characters. A good starting place for discussions of cultural differences, prejudice, and respect for the beliefs of others.
About the Author
Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin was born and raised in the U.S. and attended public grade school and a Catholic high school in a small Ohio town where there were few other Muslim families. She received her undergraduate and medical school degrees from The Ohio State University and did her internship and residency training in Pediatrics at Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. She was a private practice pediatrician for several years before taking time off to stay home with her children when they were young. She began to write about the Muslim-American experience because she had difficulty in finding good books in this area to read to her children. In addition to My Name is Bilal, she is the author of The Best Eid Holiday Book.