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From The MuslimMatters Bookshelf: Your Go-To Summer Reading List


Summer vacation means sunshine, the sea, and traveling galore – whether in an airplane or through a book! This Summer reading list is an introduction to just some of the wonderful Muslim books out there for readers of all ages. Enjoy!

Picture Books

  • From Here and There by Larissa Olinda

“From Here and There” by Larissa Olinda is a super cute picture book introducing the concept of intercultural families.

The little boy narrating this rhyming story shares how his mother is from Brazil and his father is from Saudi, and how the differences are not something negative but rather beautiful and positive! I love that the book gently recognizes challenges and compromise but highlights how wonderful the Ummah’s diversity is as well.

  • Halal Hot Dogs by Susannah Aziz

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Musa and his family pick out a special Jumu’ah treat each Friday after Salatul Jumu’ah – and Musa can’t wait to pick halal hot dogs! But it turns out that it might be a little harder to get than he expected…

 This picture book encapsulates everything one could want in Muslim kid lit: bright, detailed illustrations, a great story, and a celebration of Muslim joy!

  • Room for Everyone by Naaz Khan

Laugh-out-loud hilarious, this silly, rhyming story is set in Zanzibar, and is all about having the generosity of heart to ‘make room for everyone.’ The vibrant illustrations, the wonderful rhyming, and the message all combine to make a great read-aloud favorite. What I particularly loved about it was that it features a Muslim country and culture that is rarely ever even considered! Truly, this is a wonderful example of Black Muslim joy and representation.

  • Fatima’s Great Outdoors by Ambreen Tariq

“Fatima’s Great Outdoors” is about the Khazi family – immigrants from India who miss back home but embark on a new adventure: camping! This is a sweet story that bridges a young family’s homesickness with their plucky determination to truly experience their new home.

  • How Much Does Allah Love Me? by Hebah Subeh-Hyder

“How Much Does Allah Love Me?” is a sweet addition to any Muslim library! Little Maymunah’s musings echo the questions that many young Muslims ask, and these stories provide a lovely way to explore those questions and lovingly share the answers. This wonderful reminder to young children of how much Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) loves them makes for the perfect snuggly bedtime read on a warm summer night.

  • The Clever Companions by Sophia Lunat and Rumaysa Sidat [non-fiction]

Kids’ books about the Sahabiyyaat are incredibly rare, and this lovely compilation does so much to fill the niche. Ideal for ages 5+, the book introduces the topic of special women around RasulAllah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and the context that they emerged from.

We read about 3 incredible Muslim women: al-Khansaa’ bint Amr, A’ishah bint Abi Bakr, and Rumaysaa’ bint Milhaan.

At 42 pages, the book has quite a bit of content, but is also divided neatly into digestible sections for young readers and their limited attention span! The language is age-appropriate and engaging, including reflective questions that parents or educators can share with their young readers.

Early Readers/ Small Chapter Books

  • Nadia and Nadir: Beach-Trash Art, and Nadia and Nadir Visit Pakistan by Marzieh Abbas [fiction]

The Nadia and Nadir series is a truly adorable new set of early reader books about a brother-sister duo in various settings.

“Beach-Trash Art” is all about learning to take care of the environment. I loved that Nadia’s burkini is integrated into the illustrations without any commentary; it’s just a natural part of what’s happening. I also love that Urdu words are used within the book, and are easy to pick up within context, with a glossary provided at the very end.

“Visit to Pakistan” is a vibrant visual journey to (obviously) Pakistan. This book will undoubtedly resonate with the many children who go ‘back home’ for the holidays! (Though this book does feature the common desi bid’ah of passing a Qur’an over people’s heads for barakah/ protection.)

  • Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun by Hena Khan [fiction]

Zara loves being the queen of her neighborhood and boss of all the rules in the games she and her friends play. But when a new girl moves to town, Zara feels like her friends abandoned her friendship. In an effort to prove she is the coolest queen, Zara sets out to break a Guinness World Record but after failing at tap dancing, chalk drawing, and hula hooping, Zara needs to find out what being a queen truly means…and the crown isn’t always meant to be shouldered alone! 

  • The Big Break Out by Burhana Islam [fiction]

Yusuf Ali Khan is back with more hilariousness!! In this third book of the series, his older sister Affa is about to have a baby and Yusuf needs to prepare himself to be an uncle! But as usual, his antics take him into all kinds of mayhem but always end up in heart and love and warmth- and even some teary-eyed moments! 

  • Huda And Me by H. Hayek [fiction]

Huda and me - summer readingAkeal’s family are Lebanese Australians with a beautiful and happy life together. When his mother’s mom gets sick in Lebanon, plans for the whole family to visit change into the parents having to leave the kids behind with a friend (Auntie Amel) and rush over to take care of the grandmother.⁠

Akeal and his six siblings are left with, at first glance, a weird babysitter, who then starts to do really dangerous stuff. And so Huda (the adorable “baby” of the family) decides to run away to Lebanon and asks Akeal, her BFF, and brother, to go with her!⁠

  • Yasmin the Explorer by Saadia Faruqi [fiction]

Every explorer must have a map – and Yasmin is definitely a brave explorer! When she loses her mother at the Farmer’s Market, the map might be her only way to get back to safety. This bright addition to the Yasmin series is the perfect inspiration for your own little explorers!

Middle Grade

  • Grounded by SK Ali, Huda al-Marashi, Jamilah Thompskins-Bigelow, and Aisha Saeed

“Grounded: A Novel” is a newly released lower middle-grade book by four lovely Muslim authors – Jamilah Thompkins-Bigalow, S.K. Ali, Huda Al-Marashi, and Aisha Saeed.

Four Muslim tweens – Hannah Chen (Adam’s little sister from Love From A to Z!), Feek Stiles (and his little sister Ruqi!), Nora Najjar, and Sami Iqbal – are all returning from a large Muslim conference with their families, when a storm hits and all flights are grounded. While each child struggles with something of their own, they end up an unlikely band of friends in search of a missing cat.

I really appreciated the gentle way that the authors addressed issues of family, anxiety, and Muslim identity (or lack thereof) with each character. This story is 100% halal and wholesome – a massive relief given how many problematic “Muslim rep” books are out there these days. I especially loved Feek’s chapters, which were imbued with such heart and will undoubtedly resonate with many kids.

This is a wonderful, halal read for Muslim kids this summer!

  • A Bit of Earth by Karuna Riazi

Maria Latif’s parents have died, and she is shipped from home to home- most caretakers complaining of her surly grumpiness. When she lands with her parents’ friends in New York, she expects it’s just going to be another disappointment. But she discovers a secret garden in the yard that brings her and some friends together. Can the bit of earth she found bring her the family she deeply yearns for? This Bengali Muslim retelling of “The Secret Garden” is truly beautiful and a wonderful summer read.

  • Bhai for Now by Maleeha Siddiqui

Twin brothers separated at birth bump into each other for the first time at school – and complicated shenanigans ensue! Ashar and Shaheer must navigate their new relationship while trying to forge a new future with their *whole* family. Their family relationships – full of love and complexity – are written beautifully, and there are numerous unapologetically Muslim and Islamic references and values throughout. For those wondering what Muslamic books there are for younger boys – this is it! 

  • The Adventures of Nur al-Din by Badees Nouiouat [fiction]

The swashbuckling tale of a young Tunisian Muslim man swept along into a life of grand adventure: joining a Muslim pirate crew that is fighting back against Spanish colonizers. Filled with exciting battles, shocking betrayals, dramatic jailbreaks, and all the other ingredients of a historical action-adventure story, this book is great, especially for boys ages 11 and up.

  • The Simple Seerah Volume 1 and 2 by Imam Asim Khan and Toyris Miah [non-fiction]

simple seerah - summer readingThe Simple Seerah is hands down, one of the best (if not only!) Seerah resources aimed at middle-grade readers. The secret to its success lies in how the life of RasulAllah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) – from birth until the hijrah – is related in a vibrant storytelling style.

Relying upon classical sources of Seerah such as Ibn Is’haq’s Sirat RasulAllah, Ibn Sa’d’s Tabaqaat, atTabari’s Tareekh, & Ibn Kathir’s AsSeerah anNabawiyyah, the authors have woven together the many historical narrations about RasulAllah’s ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) biography in an easy to understand manner that vividly brings every chapter to life. I really enjoyed the glimpses we got of certain events from the perspectives of specific Companions – it made the Seerah that much more exciting and accessible.

Volume 2 opens with the Hijrah of RasulAllah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) from Makkah to Madinah, and covers the battles of Badr and Uhud. Weaving in other notable anecdotes based on ahadith, such as the story of Zuhair, the marriage of Fatimah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and Ali raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), and the political machinations of Abdullah ibn Ubayy, this book seeks to bring the Seerah to colorful life. This volume also includes a few illustrations throughout, though none of them explicitly identify or feature RasulAllah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) or the Sahabah.

Young Adult (YA)

  • As Long As The Lemon Trees Grow by Zoulfah Katouh

Salama is 19 years old and a first-year pharmacy student… until the Syrian revolution began and she lost her family. Now, in the wreckage of her pregnant sister-in-law’s home, she spends her days at the hospital, treating the wounded under the watchful gaze of Khawf – the apparition of her PTSD. But even in the midst of war-ridden horrors, there is beauty and love and breathtaking sunsets – Salama just needs the gentle touch of the person who was always destined for her.

There is such heartbreaking beauty in this story – with such incredible faith woven throughout. Islam is clearly present in every alHamdulillah and inshaAllah, and in the dua’s for the dead and the living.

  • Love from Mecca to Medinah by SK Ali [novel]

Love from MtoM - summer readingThis sequel to “Love from A to Z” is the perfect summer read! Adam & Zayneb are together but apart: nikah’d and officially husband and wife, but separated by continents as they figure out school and work and still trying to convince their families that getting married was a good idea for them. And while they’re still madly in love, they’re also keeping secrets from each other – big ones.

When they end up going for Umrah instead of their planned romantic getaway, Adam & Zayneb both have to contend with the cost of their secrets – on themselves, their relationship, and their spirituality. It doesn’t help that Adam’s long-ago almost-rishta is in their Umrah group, irritating Zayneb with her holier-than-thou attitude and conveniently spending an awful lot of time with Adam. Much angst ensues!

It is truly amazing just how unapologetically Muslamic this book is, for a traditionally published book. I was especially moved by the powerful spiritual message at the end, a necessary reminder that even in the midst of a love story, there is a more important love to focus on.

I felt so much nostalgia reading the descriptions of Adam & Zayneb on their Umrah adventure! Reading about it rekindled my own longing to pray in the two most sacred masaajid in the world.

  • Khadijah: Mother Of History’s Greatest Nation by Fatima Barkatullah [non-fiction]

Ustadha Fatima Barkatullah does an incredible job bringing the story of Umm al-Mu’mineen Khadijah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) to life in this creative telling of Khadijah’s raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) biography.

Using vibrant language and incorporating small (but important!) details regarding the many individuals who play a role in the Seerah, Ustadha Fatima’s words immerse readers into the story of Khadijah raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) like never before. For all of us who grew up reading the painfully dry translations of stories of the Companions, this is a truly refreshing change!

  • Compass: The Cauldron of Eternal Life [graphic novel]

“Compass: The Cauldron of Eternal Life” is an epic Muslamic mythological adventure!

Our heroine is Shahidah el-Amin: Scholar, Mathematician, explorer, scientist, and skilled fighter. She leaves Baghdad’s House of Wisdom for Britain, in search of a legendary cauldron held by the Welsh – except, she’s not the only one after it!

With the Mongol Horde at her heels, and a one-time friend with them, will Shahidah discover the secret of the cauldron and save it from falling into devastatingly wrong hands?

  • Huda F Are You? By Huda Fahmy (graphic novel)

Everyone’s favourite comic book hijabi is back in her third book!!!!! Huda relives her adolescent identity crisis in hilarious, honest, and unexpectedly wise ways. Huda’s story of discovering who she really is – forced to go beyond being “that hijabi girl” at school – will resonate with probably every Muslim teenage girl in the West.

  • She Wore Red Trainers by Na’ima Robert

The first look is halal, as the saying goes, and that’s all Ali needs to fall in love with Amira’s hijab, sharp eyes, and red trainers… but love, and life, are never easy, and both Amira and Ali are struggling with their own difficulties. Will naseeb prove to be more powerful than life’s obstacles, and allow a halal romance to blossom after all?


  • A Second Look by Hannah Matus [novel]

Elizza BenTaleb, her four sisters, her parents (nicknamed Umm al-Banaat and Abu’l Banaat!), Firas Tarseen, Muhammad BenAli, cousin Kamaal, Hajjah Khadijah… this cast of Muslimified Pride & Prejudice characters made me laugh out loud, repeatedly.

The best thing about this retelling is that it neither tries too hard to copy the original, nor stray too far: instead, the author seamlessly weaves together Muslim social commentary, lessons on Islamic spirituality, hilarious witticisms, and a story that reads truly authentic #MuslimRepresentation.

  • Musings of a Muslim Chaplain by Sondos Kholaki [non-fiction]

“Musings of a Muslim Chaplain” by Sondos Kholaki (@by_thepen) is a deceptively thin book, packed with thoughtful reflections on Islam, spirituality, and chaplaincy. The bite-sized content leaves much to chew on. I found myself genuinely enjoying and benefiting from this book – as will anyone else immersed in community work and da’wah.

  • Rekiya and Z by Muti’ah Badruddeen [novel]

“Rekiya and Z” follows the complicated friendship between two Nigerian Muslim women, Rekiya and Zaynunah, who come from dramatically different backgrounds but bonded deeply at school. Now, as adults who have drifted apart, the two women find themselves pushed back together – and must unearth one another’s histories and navigate their new relationship.

In many ways, this book is a learning experience: set solidly in Nigeria, the story provides a glimpse into a culture many of us know little about. I appreciated the many ways that the author didn’t pander to the ignorance of readers, but expected them to keep up (or Google what they didn’t know!) – a refreshing change from diverse books that stop and explain things to non-Western readers.

  • Sofia Khan is Not Obliged by Ayisha Malik [novel]

The ultimate summer Muslamic chick-lit: Sofia Khan, the narrator of this hilarious, sarcastic novel, is ready to renounce the rishta-search for good… until she accidentally gives her boss the idea of assigning her to write a tell-all book about “the Muslim dating scene.” As Sofia gripes about every flopped rishta meeting to her ever-patient friend circle (and her impatient parents!), readers are left to discover whether or not Sofia will indeed find her halal happily ever after. 

  • Bird Summons by Leila Aboulela [novel]

Bird Summons - summer reading“Bird Summons” by Leila Aboulela is a strange, sometimes dreamy, often heavy, and yet deeply evocative read. Readers of Aboulela’s previous books will recognize the emotional weight that her characters bear and navigate. In this book, we follow three very different Muslim women: young, beautiful, tragic Iman – widowed and divorced multiple times already; Moni the martyr-mother, clinging to her disabled son; and Salma, middle-aged and secretly resentful of her seemingly charmed life.

The three women embark on a road trip to the Scottish hinterlands, in search of Lady Zainab Evelyn Cobbold’s grave. Along the way, they must contend with one another and with themselves; the Hoopoe bird, of Qur’anic importance, appears with mysterious fables and the keys to their salvation. Aboulela’s words are simple and yet utterly powerful; she entwines the intimately spiritual and brutally human in starkly beautiful prose. Her exploration of faith, identity, and rising from personal tragedy is never comfortable and yet illuminating.

  • Zaid Karim, Private Investigator by Wael Abdelgawad [novel]

This book gives off gritty detective-noir film vibes remixed with a wild level of action that you’d expect from a movie like Die Hard – with a massive dose of Islamic values seamlessly and brilliantly woven throughout. Zaid Karim isn’t some bland, preachy Muslim character – he’s a flawed man with a sketchy past, but deeply committed to Islam and doing right by his Deen, his family, and the innocent around him.

In between inadvertently being used by gangbangers to raid a stash house, discovering dead drug addicts’ bodies, saving the life of a suicidal, poetic Panamanian man, and sneaking onto the private island of a pedophilic crime lord, Zaid reflects on the story of Salman al-Farsi raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and ponders over verses of the Qur’an.

Reviews taken from Zainab bint Younus and @MuslimMommyBlog

Head over to Crescent Moon Bookstore and use the code MBR for 10% off some of these titles!


Navigating Muslim Representation In Books: The Good, The Flawed, And The Ugly –

Muslim Women’s History: A Book List –

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

Zainab bint Younus (AnonyMouse) is a Canadian Muslim woman who writes on Muslim women's issues, gender related injustice in the Muslim community, and Muslim women in Islamic history. She holds a diploma in Islamic Studies from Arees University, a diploma in History of Female Scholarship from Cambridge Islamic College, and has spent the last fifteen years involved in grassroots da'wah. She was also an original founder of

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