January 2024

All book descriptions are from the publisher unless otherwise indicated.

YA Fiction

An Emotion of Great Delight by Tahereh Mafi

In the wake of 9/11, Shadi, a child of Muslim immigrants, tries to navigate her crumbling world of death, heartbreak, and bigotry in silence, until finally everything changes.

Sadia by Colleen NelsonSadia by Nelson, Colleen

Thirteen-year-old Sadia is Muslim and passionate about one thing: basketball. When her teacher announces tryouts for this year’s co-ed team, she jumps at the opportunity. Her talent speaks for itself. Her head scarf, on the other hand, is a problem. Surrounded by her classmates and a new friend, Syrian refugee Amira, Sadia learns about standing up for herself and fighting for what is right. Written from Sadia’s point of view, the book examines how three female Muslim teenagers experience life. Sadia wants to maintain her Muslim identity and refuses to remove her head covering at a basketball tournament; Amira is a Syrian refugee, reeling from the trauma she experienced when she fled her home; and Nazreen is ready to eschew her Muslim heritage to fit in with the popular crowd at school.

Barakah Beats by Maleeha Siddiqui

It’s Nimra Sharif’s first time going to public school. Nimra’s nervous, but as long as she has her best friend, Jenna, by her side, she figures she can take on just about anything. Unfortunately, middle school is hard. The teachers are mean, the schedule is confusing, and Jenna starts giving hijab-wearing Nimra the cold shoulder aorund the other kids. Desperate to fit in and save her friendship with Jenna, Nimra accepts an unlikely invitation to join Barakah Beats, a band mad up of popular eighth-grade boys. The only problem is, Nimra was taught that music isn’t allowed in Islam, and she knows her parents would be disappointed in her. So she devises a plan: join the band just until she wins Jenna back, then quit before her parents find out. but Nimra’s lies quickly start to unravel. And as she grows to care about her bandmates, Nimra has to decide whether to betray her new friends or herself.

Amazon.com: Home Is Not a Country: 9780593177051: Elhillo, Safia: BooksHome is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo

Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her suburban town, which makes her feel too much like an outsider to fit in and not enough like an outsider to feel like that she belongs somewhere else. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself. Until she doesn’t. As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might just be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry. And the life Nima has, the one she keeps wishing were someone else’s…she might have to fight for it with a fierceness she never knew she had.

Hollow Fires by Samira Ahmed

After discovering the body of fourteen-year-old Jawad Ali in Jackson Park, seventeen-year-old journalism student Safiya Mirza begins investigating his murder and ends up confronting white supremacy in her own high school.

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

The Ark, a boy band, is the center of life for super-fan Fereshteh (A.K.A. Angel) Rahimi, transgender frontman Jimmy Kaga-Ricci, and friend and bandmate Rowan, but their relationships become complicated when Jimmy and Angel are unexpectedly thrust together.

All-American Muslim Girl by Nadine Jolie CourtneyAmazon.com: All-American Muslim Girl: 9780374309527: Courtney, Nadine Jolie: Books

Sixteen-year-old Allie, aged seven when she knew her family was different and feared, struggles to claim her Muslim and Arabic heritage while finding her place as an American teenager.

The Loophole by Naz Kutub

Sy, a seventeen-year-old gay Muslim boy, travels the world for a second chance at love after a possibly magical heiress grants him three wishes.

Zara Hossain is Here by Sabina Khan

Ever since her family moved to Texas from Pakistan when she was a baby, seventeen-year-old Zara Hossain has only ever called Corpus Christi home. Being the only Muslim girl at her conservative Catholic school, blending in isn’t really an option, especially with people like Tyler Benson always tormenting her. But one day Tyler takes things too far by defacing Zara’s locker with a racist message, which gets him suspended. As an act of revenge, Tyler and his friends vandalize the Hossains’ house with Islamophobic graffiti, which leads to a violent crime that puts Zara and her family’s entire future at risk.

Nine, ten: a September 11 story by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Relates how the lives of four children living in different parts of the country intersect and are affected by the events of September 11, 2001.

 

YA Graphic Novels

Welcome to the New World: Halpern, Jake, Sloan, Michael: 9781250305596: Amazon.com: BooksWelcome to the New World – Jake Halpern

After escaping a Syrian prison, Ibrahim Aldabaan and his family fled the country to seek protection in America. Among the few refugees to receive visas, they finally landed in JFK airport on November 8, 2016, Election Day. The family had reached a safe harbor, but woke up to the world of Donald Trump and a Muslim ban that would sever them from the grandmother, brothers, sisters, and cousins stranded in exile in Jordan. Welcome to the New World tells the Aldabaans’ story. Resettled in Connecticut with little English, few friends, and even less money, the family of seven strive to create something like home. As a blur of language classes, job-training programs, and the fearsome first days of high school (with hijab) give way to normalcy, the Aldabaans are lulled into a sense of security. A white van cruising slowly past the house prompts some unease, which erupts into full terror when the family receives a death threat and is forced to flee and start all over yet again. The America in which the Aldabaans must make their way is by turns kind and ignorant, generous and cruel, uplifting and heartbreaking.

Ms. Marvel

Kamala Khan is Jersey City’s own friendly neighborhood super hero, and she’s making a huge impression across the Marvel Universe – whether sharing an adventure with Wolverine or a Ms. Marvel Team-Up with Spider-Man! Kamala discovers her Inhuman legacy with Medusa and the oversized hound Lockjaw, enjoys spy games with S.H.I.E.L.D., and comes face-to-face at last with her idol Captain Marvel – just in time for the end of the world! Witness Kamala’s first adventure with the All-New, All-Different Avengers – and see her join a new generation of heroes in the Champions! Plus, two young super hero sensations unite when Ms. Marvel meets Moon Girl!

 

YA Nonfiction Graphic Novels

Guantanamo Voices

In January 2002, the United States sent a group of Muslim men they suspected of terrorism to a prison in Guantanamo Bay. They were the first of roughly 780 prisoners who would be held there-and 40 inmates still remain. Eighteen years later, very few of them have been ever charged with a crime. In ‘Guantanamo Voices’, journalist Sarah Mirk and her team of diverse, talented graphic novel artists tell the stories of ten people whose lives have been shaped and affected by the prison, including former prisoners, lawyers, social workers, and service members. This collection of illustrated interviews explores the history of Guantanamo and the world post-9/11, presenting this complicated partisan issue through a new lens.

Imperfect: a story of body image – Dounya AwadaImperfect: A Story of Body image (Zuiker Teen Topics) by Dounya Awada | Goodreads

Dounya Awada is a 24-year-old, devout Muslim, happy, healthy, and very much alive. But just a few years before, she nearly starved to death. Her struggle began when she was six years old. Little Dounya wanted nothing less than to be perfect, like her mother. She pushed herself hard every day, excelling in schoolwork and at home. She had to be the cutest, prettiest, smartest girl in the room. The slightest hint of imperfection led to meltdowns and uncontrollable tantrums. Her parents loved her fiercely but were unable to understand what was happening to their little girl. Being perfect all the time was exhausting. In Dounya’s culture, food is nearly synonymous with love. Food is nourishment, nourishment is love, love is life. Dounya began to eat to fill the growing need within her. She grew in size, eventually hitting over 200 pounds at just age 15. Food became her only friend. Her peers mocked her. She felt utterly alone. As is the case for someone with dysmorphia, Dounya’s obsession with food did a turnabout, and she began rigorous exercising and dieting. But even a substantial weight loss didn’t satisfy her. She looked in the mirror and still saw the fat girl she used to be. She began the ugly cycle of bingeing and purging, eventually hitting a low weight of just 73 pounds. Dounya’s horrific struggle with eating disorders has led her to advocate for boys and girls facing the same hurdles with which she struggled. She is now studying clinical psychology, and hopes to open an eating and dysmorphia disorder facility in Las Vegas for boys and girls with her disorder. If her story helps just one person to recognize the beauty of their imperfection, then her pain will have been worthwhile. Zuiker Press is proud to publish stories about important current topics for kids and adolescents, written by their peers, that will help them cope with the challenges they face in today’s troubled world.

 

YA Nonfiction

Ink Knows no Borders: poems of the immigrant and refugee experience

With authenticity, integrity, and insight, this collection of poems addresses the many issues confronting first- and second- generation young adult immigrants and refugees, such as cultural and language differences, homesickness, social exclusion, human rights, racism, stereotyping, and questions of identity. Poems by Elizabeth Acevedo, Erika L. Sánchez, Samira Ahmed, Chen Chen, Ocean Vuong, Fatimah Asghar, Carlos Andrés Gómez, Bao Phi, Kaveh Akbar, Hala Alyan, and Ada Limón, among others, encourage readers to honor their roots as well as explore new paths, offering empathy and hope for those who are struggling to overcome discrimination. Many of the struggles immigrant and refugee teens face head-on are also experienced by young people everywhere as they contend with isolation, self-doubt, confusion, and emotional dislocation. Ink Knows No Borders is the first book of its kind and features 65 poems and a foreword by poet Javier Zamora, who crossed the border, unaccompanied, at the age of nine, and an afterword by Emtithal Mahmoud, World Poetry Slam Champion and Honorary Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency. Brief biographies of the poets are included, as well. It’s a hopeful, beautiful, and meaningful book for any reader.

Sisters of the War: Two Remarkable True... by Abouzeid, RaniaSisters of the War: two remarkable true stories of survival and hope in Syria by Rania Abouzeird

Since the civil war in Syria began in 2011, over 500,000 civilians have been killed and more than 12 million Syrians have been displaced. Rania Abouzeid, one of the foremost journalists on the topic, follows two pairs of sisters from opposite sides of the conflict to give readers a firsthand glimpse of the turmoil and devastation this strife has wrought. Sunni Muslim Ruha and her younger sister Alaa withstand constant attacks by the Syrian government in rebel-held territory. Alawite sisters Hanin and Jawa try to carry on as normal in the police state of regime-held Syria. The girls grow up in a world where nightly bombings are routine and shrapnel counts as toys. They bear witness to arrests, killings, demolished homes, and further atrocities most adults could not imagine. Still, war does not dampen their sense of hope. Through the stories of Ruha and Alaa and Hanin and Jawa, Abouzeid presents a clear-eyed and page-turning account of the complex conditions in Syria leading to the onset of the harrowing conflict. With Abouzeid’s careful attention and remarkable reporting, she crafts an incredibly empathetic and nuanced narrative of the Syrian civil war, and the promise of progress these young people still embody.

From Here: a memoir by Luma Mufleh

In her coming-of-age memoir, refugee advocate Luma Mufleh writes of her tumultuous journey to reconcile her identity as a gay Muslim woman and a proud Arab-turned-American refugee. With no word for “gay” in Arabic, Luma may not have known what to call the feelings she had growing up in Jordan during the 1980s, but she knew well enough to keep them secret. It was clear that not only would her family have trouble accepting her, but trapped in a conservative religious society, she could’ve also been killed if anyone discovered her sexuality. Luma spent her teenage years increasingly desperate to find a way out, and finally found one when she was accepted into college in the United States. Once there, Luma begins the ago­nizing process of applying for political asylum, which ensures her safety—but causes her family to break ties with her. Becoming a refugee in America is a rude awakening, and Luma must rely on the grace of friends and strangers alike as she builds a new life and finally embraces her full self. Slowly, she’s able to forge a new path forward with both her biological and chosen families, eventually founding Fugees Family, a nonprofit dedicated to the education and support of refu­gee children in the United States. As hopeful as it is heartrending, From Here is a coming-of-age memoir about one young woman’s search for belonging and the many meanings of home for those who must leave theirs.

– Gail Lordi (Youth Services Assistant) and Jason Weissmann (Young Adult Librarian)