WHAT COLOR IS MY HIJAB?
A children’s “learn your colors” book where a Muslim girl chooses what color hijab she’ll wear today!
I live in St. Cloud, Minnesota, and people sometimes ask me if I’m scared to wear my hijab out in public for fear of judgment or bias. The answer is NO.
I love my hijab because proudly wearing my identity feels empowering and liberating.
I love my hijab because it’s a visual representation of my faith.
And I love my hijab . . . because it’s fashionable, too!
When buying books for my nieces, it was difficult to find ones that showed little girls who looked like them. It was even harder to find books with Muslim characters who were just having fun and living their lives.
As a Muslim woman, my closet is full of hijabs of different styles, patterns, and of course, colors! I’m excited to pick out my hijab and style my outfit around it each day.
I want little girls to feel that same excitement when they wake up in the morning and choose their hijab. And more importantly, I want them to feel that way when they explain their hijab to their non-Muslim friends.
In my work as a politician, community advocate, and educator, I know how important it is to connect communities.
My first book, From Somalia to Snow: How Central Minnesota Became Home to Somalis, sought to close the gap between misinformation and assimilation. It has served as a platform for many community outreach events, such as Dine & Dialogue, which brings newer Americans together with their neighbors.
It’s my belief that representation is the most important step to understanding. A kind conversation can change strangers into neighbors. And a book normalizing hijabs can help children lessen that separation of “the other” and embrace what makes each other different!
In this book, Tima needs to decide what color hijab she’ll wear today . . . but how? She thinks about the inspirational Muslim women who wear hijabs: engineers, politicians, athletes, and artists. Each woman with her own colorful hijab embodies a unique strength. Tima chooses her color, wraps on her hijab, and goes into her day filled with love for her strength and herself.
I’m so happy to have partnered with the illustrator Meenal Patel to help me bring this book to life. Not only is she talented, but she also shares my commitment to diversity in children’s books! As she said when promoting her own book, Priya Dreams of Marigolds and Masala:
Like many Muslim girls, Tima wanted to wear her hijab to emulate her mom, neighbors, peers . . . and of course, her Aunt Hudda!
Tima is bubbly, affectionate, friendly, and artistic. She is proud of her religion and carries the traditions forward in a modern way. She grew up knowing the religious and cultural significance of the hijab . . . and she knows her hijab is cool too.
She chooses her hijab based on how she wants to feel—confident, fun, or powerful—and she knows there’s a way to be modest and fashionable.
I can’t wait to show her a book with a little girl who dresses just like her. And I can’t wait to visit her classroom and share the fun of this tradition with all the other kids her age.
I started writing this story for my niece, but as soon as I started sharing it with other close friends, a lot of other people said they’d be interested in this book. That's how the idea of a Kickstarter campaign was born! If we meet the funding goal, it will be a great accomplishment for me.
I’ve paid for the cost of book illustration on my own. Now I need your help to cover the cost of printing to help get this book into the hands of children all around the country.
Your funding will help me pay for the printing of this book::
- Smythe bound
- 24, full color pages
Now, more than ever, we need to affirm that children shouldn’t be afraid to wear their hijabs. We need to CELEBRATE this unique and beautiful part of Muslim culture.
I’ve come up with a bunch of fun rewards to help celebrate the generous contributions. Please join me in spreading this positive representation to Muslim and non-Muslim children alike—I can’t do this without your help!
If we hit $10,000, I will donate 100 books to United Way in Central Minnesota. We anticipate getting your books into your hands by April.
I hope you'll be a part of putting this small good thing into the world. And please spread the word! Thank you!
Thank you for believing in this book!
Risks and challenges
Like any artistic endeavor, funding is one of the biggest challenges this book faces. However, that’s the biggest hurdle. I’ve partnered with a Twin Cities publisher, who I have full trust in, Beaver’s Pond Press, to ensure a smooth and professional publishing process—and a beautiful book. I've used their services before and had an amazing experience.
I hope to have books printed in early 2020, but if I run into any hiccups, I’ll keep all backers updated about timeline changes.
- (60 days)