Emerging business in America .. Photo stories with Muslim heroes

Under My Hijab is the title of a pictorial story for children of Pakistani-American writer Hana Khan, in which a girl expresses her pride in a group of veiled women in her surroundings, her grandmother in her bakery, her doctor's mother in her clinic, her aunt in her studio, her sister in her school, and her teacher on a trip in Forests, and others.

Khan, owner of a series of books for children and young adults on Al Jazeera Net, says her goal of "Under my Veil" was to celebrate women and girls who wear the hijab, and to help demystify this religious practice of many Americans and others.

This story and others have met with great popularity among the Muslims of America, where a clear production movement has recently emerged for children’s books written by American Muslims, and their content represents Muslims in their traditions, forms and even their names.

Among the most prominent books here is Khan, the story of a well-known fictional character for a curious little monkey loved by children, who enters the home of a Muslim child and lives with him the month of Ramadan with joy and ease, so the story was "It's Ramadan Time, Curious George", this book - which has become the original sponsor of Ramadan for modern Muslim families In America, she says here that she does not write specifically for Muslim children as much as she writes stories with Muslim characters who represent them.

Randa Taftaf and her husband Mazen Ghalayini carrying their story "Zido Potato Super Hero" (Al-Jazeera).
Randa Taftaf and her husband Mazen Ghalayini carrying their story "Zido Potato Super Hero" (Al-Jazeera).

Parents' attention
These books can be purchased through multiple sites, such as Amazon and Abay and others in the United States and abroad, as public libraries are not without Islamic stories content or stories containing Muslim figures for all ages.

Shereen Majar - an Egyptian, a mother of two boys and a girl living in Connecticut - has started buying books continuously for her desire to preserve their identity, and assures Al-Jazeera Net that she started focusing on her content more, despite buying a lot, her daughter preferred certain groups. "My daughter only pulled two sets of what I bought Zaido Potito and Jasmine, because they are not directly Islamic but rather have simple glimpses, for example the mother says to her daughter in the story: Wait until I wear my hijab before we go out, and her characters are very similar to us.

As for Duaa Imam - who is the mother of three children - who went to acquire these books in order to preserve the identity of her children in parallel with the American culture, she tells Al-Jazeera Net, "What attracted my children the series" Noor Kidz ", and in which a monthly subscription sends a story to the house, and it fits up to the age of ten years." But, most importantly, in Dua ’’s opinion, parents in America should buy these books and make a home library for their children.

Basma Jasim, an Iraqi American and mother of three children, expressed her happiness at seeing them see themselves in the stories "in the same way of their lives and their mosque, and with characters that resemble Papa and Mama, and my son rejoices a lot when he sees a figure bearing his name."

Basma Jassim with her children (Al-Jazeera)
Basma Jassim with her children  (Al-Jazeera)

Basma finds that there is competition in the production of books, but her children prefer stories originating in Britain and not America, and she says, "She is happy that there are books for non-Muslims who are now introducing Muslim figures in their stories. For example, she finds the character of a veiled child or a child named Arab Muslim but she never talks about Islam, she is Just a regular story, and this is wonderful and very affecting our children and their identity. "

and author Randa Taftaf, a Syrian-American, and her husband Mazen Ghalayini, a Lebanese-American, founded the Rummana Publishing Foundation, where they launched a series of stories in the name of their child Zaid that were very popular, according to Randa for Al Jazeera Net.

And Zaydo Potato A Muslim Superhero, and other titles in which Randa wrote the adventures of a Muslim child, saying, "We wanted to enhance the identity of our son Zaid through stories that resemble him because I know the feeling of exclusion, and we suggested that we address this with the idea of ​​superheroes."

Randa believes that the Islamic books market has suddenly flourished since 2015, and this is an excellent thing, as books on the library shelves have become representative of Muslims, some new books are amazing, but there are books that do not follow industry standards or are not interesting, development may take some time, experiences and errors.

The Pakistani children's story writer, Taiba Syed, author of "The Bild Bananas", believes that the market for children’s Islamic books expanded and grew very quickly, as Muslim American children find a sense of belonging and acceptance through more easily accessible books, confirming the success of her book, which is about Issuing the third edition of it.

The challenges of publishing and writing
Despite the qualitative success that has begun to emerge, there are challenges for these writers, most of which are material, as Khan here confirms that publishing is not a way to win. "I am still mainly supported by my husband, who is looking for wealth and his path is not children's writings, I do so because You have a story to tell, and only because you're excited about it. "

"Our aim was not to profit from writing, even though we sold all paper copies, my husband and I are not full-time for this company, and Pomegranate Publishing is not profitable enough to quit my job," Rafftaft agreed with, adding that Randa resented the issue of copyright violations by copying operations. Books without permission, she says is a real struggle in the publishing world.

While Khan says about the challenges of publishing: "Quality has evolved greatly, in the end publishing is trade. If the book is not sold, the publisher will stop producing it. We need more books on Muslims, and I am happy with the good number of stories that are produced. We need more Acting to refute negative accounts from Muslims. "

Daughter of Sherine Magar favors one group over another because of indirect content (Al Jazeera)
Daughter of Sherine Magar favors one group over another because of indirect content  (Al Jazeera)

We need diversity The
production of books with Muslim characters is part of a general trend for more racial and religious diversity of books in America, and it appears that it has become more institutionalized with the emergence of the organization "We Need Diversified Books."

"Our organization is a non-profit and popular organization for fans of children's books, and it calls for fundamental changes in the publishing industry and the promotion of literature that reflects and honors the lives of all young people, and our aim is not only that every child sees himself in the books he reads, but rather he must Each child reads from others who are different. "

Oh is proud of the success of writers such as Hana Khan and Aisha Saeed, and says, "When the Peace Reds organization published Karuna Riaz's books, I was very excited because she was a talented Muslim writer that I saw turning into a famous author, and when Samira Ahmed's book on the New York Times list embarrassed my children Literally by shouting in public places, all these books that Muslim writers have narrated are books that children need in society.

Oh, and the reason the publishing industry is concerned with children is due to two reasons. First, editors, agents and writers see the importance of diversity and make it a priority. Second, these books show that they can succeed or fail just like books written by white skin authors.

Source: Al-Jazeer