In her memoir Burqas, Baseball and Apple Pie, American Muslim Ranya Idliby tells an anecdote that surely any parent can relate to. Her very American, New York born and raised son reveals that he’s been “teased” the whole year at school.
Other kids have accused him of being a terrorist. Of having a weapons cache at home.
He tried to ignore it, hoping it would go away. It did not. How do you respond to that?
Facts. Knowledge. Light. Books.
Enter Curious George.
The soon-to-be-released It’s Ramadan, Curious George hopes to help youngsters (and maybe adults too) understand a bit more about Islam, while giving American Muslims a nice breath of fresh air.
Author Hena Khan writes on the CBC Diversity blog, “It hasn’t been easy to be a Muslim in America recently, especially for children, but really, for all of us. Anti-Muslim rhetoric is rampant, hate crimes and bullying are on the rise, and fear and anxiety over the future is growing in our hearts. But George has offered the American Muslim community the chance to forget that for a moment and to look forward to something positive, reaffirming, and just plain cute.”
And that’s a big part of what diversity in children’s books is about: letting every kid find herself or himself in the world of literature and thought.
And helping everyone expand their view of the world.
For a great list of other Diversity books, from the Children’s Book Council, click here (some Bliss Group Books are included).