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Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His…
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Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter

by Mark Gonzales

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I loved this book. It teachers its reader to not be ashamed of who they are and to embrace their differences. I think books like this are very important for young children to read so they can learn about different cultures. I think this is important because they can see that yeah they may be different, but they are still human and their differences make them unique. The illustrations really bring this book together because they are very detailed. I think the more detailed a picture book is the more interesting it is. All in all, I think a big take away from this book is love people for who they are, and embrace your differences. I Highly recommend this book. ( )
  lendli2 | Oct 1, 2018 |
This is a poetic picture book, written as a letter from a father to his daughter. It is intended to help her celebrate her diverse background. The beautiful vibrant illustrations work with the thought provoking verse like text to give the reader a peek into the religious and cultural world of a Hispanic Muslim.

This was an emotional read for me, maybe because of the power of the positive affirmation it offered. It sent the message to take pride in your heritage despite what others think of you. On top of this message, the illustrations featured striking representations of modern day city life, beautiful views of the Earth, and vibrant colors and patterns associated with the Muslim and Hispanic cultures.
  maryganderson | Sep 16, 2018 |
What the book is about: Written as a letter from a father to his daughter, Yo Soy Muslim is a beautifully illustrated poem sharing the significance of the Muslim faith in her life. He wants her to accept her multicultural diversity with open arms and know that there will be people who do not understand her and that is okay.
In my opinion this is a great book to share with students who may feel weary in their faith and/or cultural differences from those around them. The illustrations help carry the lines of the poem along, making it more like a work of art rather than a book—the style of the drawings fits the culture and gives it an authentic signature. The colors on certain pages, particularly toward the end of the book, where the father writes “Say it with me: Yo soy Muslim, our prayers were here before any borders were”, are vibrant and enrich the text to make it more powerful. The language of the poem is clear and intentional with a protective undertone that any parent will feel for their child when sending them out into a world filled with judgement. There is a part in the poem where her father writes: “There are questions this world will ask. What are you? And where are you from? And there will come a day when some people in the world will not smile at you”, this sets the tone for the conflict of the poem and describes the fearful lives minorities unfortunately must carry with them. The big idea of the story is that what makes you who you are is not what others perceive you to be, rather you are what you value and celebrate. It is easy to lose sight of the purpose of your beliefs when the world seems to be against them—the real challenge is working to overcome these influences to discover your full potential. ( )
  mkende1 | Sep 11, 2018 |
This was not one of my favorite books, but it was still a good read. I didn't like it because the writing does not flow and it doesn't have a plot. It talks about the sky and the moon, sort of in poetry, then about her culture and identity, and then back to nature, praying, and God. It seemed all over the place. I did enjoy how the character talks about her identity and her point of view as a Muslim. She says people stare and do not smile at her. She is strong though, she tells the people who judge her that she speaks dreams and that she is wondrous. She ignores the negative people and flaunts her religion. This book helps children like her accept their culture and embrace it. ( )
  okelle3 | Sep 4, 2018 |
Mark Gonzales is a poet and a distinguished Professor at the Institute for Diversity in the Arts at Stanford University. Born into a Roman Catholic Latino family in Mexico, he converted to Islam in his early twenties.

He addresses this book to his daughter, in anticipation that she may [in fact, almost assuredly will] encounter hostility because of what she looks like and what she believes.

He tells her that if “some people in the world will not smile at you,” she should say to them:

Yo soy Muslim.
I am from Allah, angels,
and a place almost as old as time.
I speak Spanish, Arabic,
and dreams.”


Further, he suggests she say,

“Mi abuelo worked the fields.
My ancestors did amazing things
and so will I.”

The book shows the dad dancing with his daughter as he tells her:

“Dance. Smile.
Laugh. Pray.
Say it with me:
Yo soy Muslim.
Yo soy Muslim.”

Illustrator Mehrdokht Amini uses colorful folk art collages to create imaginative pictures that will enchant readers. There are fantastical scenes as well as realistic ones, and depictions of diverse settings that convey the idea that Muslims are part of every culture.

The emphasis is not on the nature of the Muslim faith; rather, the focus seems to be on instilling confidence and pride. “No matter what they say,” the dad tells his daughter, “Know you are wondrous. A child of crescent moons, a builder of mosques, a descendant of brilliance, an ancestor in training.”

Evaluation: The Pew Research Institute reports that as of 2015, there were an estimated 1.8 billion Muslims around the world, making Islam the world’s second-largest religious tradition after Christianity. Muslims make up a majority of the population in 49 countries around the world. Given the number of people ascribing to this faith, as well as a recrudescence of prejudice and suspicion in many countries against minority cultures, this timely book takes on new importance. Children are our future, and they deserve to feel good about themselves, and grow up with hope rather than bitterness. Parents of all kinds will appreciate the positive messages conveyed in this book; after all, any child that is in any way different will face some of the same issues. ( )
  nbmars | Jul 7, 2018 |
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A lyrical celebration of multiculturalism as a parent shares with a child the value of their heritage and why it should be a source of pride, even when others disagree.

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