My Name is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin
📚 My Name is Bilal 📚
Author: Asma Mobin-Uddin
Illustrator: Barbara Kiwak
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press @penguinkids
Islamic Content: Bilal r.a.
Concerns: 2 pages of illustrations include a depiction of Bilal (one of them calling the adhan, the other when he is being tortured with large stones on his abdomen)
On their first day of classes of a new school, from a distance Bilal witnesses his sister's hijab being tugged by a couple of boys, he decided to keep his Muslim identity a secret. When his teacher notices this, he decides to give him a book about Bilal r.a. biography. This bring newfound confidence and pride in him and his identity.
This book covers a few things that are important to discuss with little Muslim children. The book touches on bullying, identity and fitting in. The premise of the book is amazing; finding relatable strength and courage through important Muslim individuals who have greatly contributed in our faith is an ideal story to tell. The story is a very heavy read for a picture book and would be more appropriate for middle graders to read. However, I was quite shocked to see the illustrations of a man representing Bilal r.a.. Above that, the depiction of him being tortured underneath the large stones is not tasteful for the kids. While I do understand that the illustrators take directions from publishers, I think a more sensitive approach should have been implemented. I do love that a traditionally published book includes Bilal r.a. and his story and the fact that a translation of the adhan is included with the author's note. This book has been published in 2005. I would have loved to have used this is story in our masjid library but those illustrations are quite bothersome.