#RamadanReads – A Book Buying Revolution

Photo credit: Aisha Saeed

Photo credit: Aisha Saeed

When novelist & #WeNeedDiverseBooks co-founder Aisha Saeed walked into her local Barnes & Noble ten days ago, she was surprised & thrilled to see a Ramadan book display for children. She wanted to buy all four books displayed but after chatting with the bookseller, she realized that those were the only books in stock.

If she bought those books, not only would they be sold out of all of their Ramadan-themed children’s books, but the Ramadan display would disappear too. Shockingly, her bookstore was not located in a small town, but in Atlanta, GA. B&N thought they could only sell four Islamic-themed books in a city with a huge Muslim population.

Aisha’s blog post explaining the situation and asking that Muslims “be the change we want to see” was the spark we needed to ignite a book-buying revolution. Using the hashtag #RamadanReads, we asked our communities on social media platforms to share their children’s, young adult, and adult book recommendations for our Ramadan/Eid gift list. We based the extensive list below on your feedback.

This Thursday, July 3rd, marks the second phase of our campaign: Muslim communities will visit or call their local bookstores and libraries to order books from the list, letting them know that their request is part of the National #RamadanReads Campaign. We want this to become an annual event, inshAllah, and for Ramadan to become known as the month in which Muslims flock to bookstores to support their storytellers.

Muslims were once renowned as a community that loved, wrote and bought books, built libraries, and engaged in vigorous coffeehouse debates over the ideas that lie at the core of our humanity. At 8 million strong in the US, and with an estimated $170 billion in annual consumer purchasing power, we have the power to shape our own narratives. The key? Simple: The more Muslim storytellers we support with our dollars, the more diverse Muslim stories we will see.

The publishing industry is demand-driven. Buying available books sends a resounding message to publishers and bookstores that our representation matters and that we want to hear more Muslim voices and stories.

Please join us! Call/visit your bookstores/libraries with your book orders on Thursday morning, and then share the books you chose and what your experience was like with the #RamadanReads hashtag. We’d love to hear about what it means to you to read books written by and about Muslims. What were your childhood experiences like with or without books reflecting you? What kind of stories do you hope your children will have access to? Why is supporting Muslim authors and books important to you? Let’s talk about it all on Twitter at 11 am PDT/2 pm EDT this Thursday!

Let’s “be the change” – together.

– Aisha Saeed, aishasaeed.com

Ayesha Mattu, Deonna Kelli, & Nura Maznavi, LoveinshAllah.com

Jennifer Zobair. Storyandchai.com

Sabina Khan-Ibarra, MuslimahMontage.com

PS: The list below features books by diverse Muslim authors, including those who identify as orthodox, cultural and secular. If you’d like us to consider adding a book, please leave a comment below, tweet or email us!

Love InshAllah’s Top 10 Editorial Picks – The books we love to give as gifts

1. Night of the Moon by Hena Khan: A delightful children’s story about Ramadan/Eid with a female protagonist.

2.  The Conference of the Birds by Alexis York Lumbard, Demi and Seyyed Hossein Nasr: Gorgeously illustrated book based on Attar’s 800-year-old Persian parable that will illuminate the hearts of both children and adults. In fact, all of Demi’s books that I’ve read (Muhammad, Rumi, The Hungry Coat, & One Grain of Rice) are wonderful.

3. A teenage Pakistani-American Muslim superhero? Yes, please! Check out the cool new Ms. Marvel comic,, issues 1-5 today!

4. E-mails to Scheherazade by Mohja Kahf: This powerful book of exquisite poems was shared between three generations in my home, each one feeling as if Professor Kahf had written the poem just for her.

5. The best biographies of the Prophet (saws) soften your heart and make you fall in love with him all over again. Omid Safi’s Memories of Mohammad does just that.

6. That gaping emptiness inside? It’s why I read Shaykh Hamza Yusuf’s Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart every year.

7. If you haven’t read Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson yet, you’re missing out on one of the most fantastic debut novels ever. The NYT selected it as a notable book of the year and called it “a bookload of wizardry and glee.”  We agree.

8. Do Muslim Women Need Saving? by Lila Abu-Lughod: if you are a Muslim woman, or have an opinion about us, Read This.

9. Haldol & Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life by Melody Moezzi: My cousin received a bipolar diagnosis, so Melody’s memoir hits close to home. Evocative, funny, and informative, she’s helping to open up a critical conversation around mental health in the Muslim community.

10. The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X: A classic that changed my life and perspective when I read it at 16. Great for teens and adults alike.

And, if you haven’t already, check out the books of the writers who created the campaign:

Painted Hands by Jennifer Zobair: Zainab Mir is a beautiful, sharp-tongued campaign strategist with a penchant for stirring up controversy. Her best friend, Amra Abbas, is a seemingly-unflappable attorney on a grueling partnership track. Can these ambitious Muslim women juggle two cultures, high-powered careers, and unexpected men—including a right-wing talk radio host—to have it all?

Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed explores what it is like to be thrust into an unwanted marriage. This beautiful novel follows a Pakistani American teenager who falls in love with a boy in her community against her parent’s wishes. When they find out, the consequences are greater than she could have possibly imagined.

Our Salaam, Love & Love, InshAllah anthologies. The search for love is universal, but every love story is unique. #MuslimLove

See the complete list of books below. Search Indiebound for the independent bookstore nearest you, or order from Powell’s Books online. Don’t forget to tell them that #RamadanReads sent you! CHILDREN’S

[A number of children’s books listed below have been reviewed by Reem Faruqi, here.]

Art/Music

Colours of Islam (Book & CD) – Dawud Wharnsby

A Picnic of Poems: In Allah’s Green Garden (Book & CD) – Dawud Wharnsby

Coloring Book Islamic Art (Prestel Coloring Books) – Annette Roeder

The Islamic Year: Surahs, Stories and Celebrations (Crafts, Festivals and Family Activities Ser) – Noorah Al-Gailani, Chris Smith and Helen Williams

Allah to Z: Activity Book: Islamic – Sam’n Iqbal

My Arabic Alphabet Book – Darrussalam  

Fiction

Ramadan/Eid-related

The White Nights of Ramadan – Maha Addasi

The Jinni on the Roof: A Ramadan Story by Natasha Rafi and Abdul Malik Channa

Moon Watchers: Shirin’s Ramadan Miracle – Reza Jalali

My First Ramadan – Karen Katz

Ramadan Moon – Na’ima B. Robert

Under the Ramadan Moon – Sylvia Whitman

Ramadan – Suhaib Hamid Ghazi

A Party in Ramadan – Asma Mobin-Uddin

Zaki’s Ramadhan Fast – Ann P. El-Moslimany and Erica L. Butler

Max Celebrates Ramadan – Adria F Worsham

Night of the Moon – Hena Khan

The Best Eid Ever! – Asma Mobin-Uddin

The Lost Ring: An Eid Story -Fawzia Gilani-Williams

Nabeel’s New Pants: An Eid Tale – Fawzia Gilani-Williams

Rashad’s Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr – Lisa Bullard

An Eid For Everyone – Hina Islam

Holidays Around the World: Celebrate Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr – Deborah Heiligman

The Three Muslim Festivals – Aminah Ibrahim

General

Noor Kids – comic books for children

The Hungry Coat: A Tale from Turkey – Demi

One Grain Of Rice: A Mathematical Folktale – Demi

The Conference of the Birds – Alexis York Lumbard, Demi and Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns: A Muslim Book of Colors – Hena Khan

Ilyas and Duck Search for Allah – Omar Khawaja

Montmorency’s Book of Rhymes – T.J. Winter

Fatuma’s New Cloth – Leslie Bulion

The Perfume of Memory – Michelle Nikly

Ali and the Magic Stew – Shulamith Levey Oppenheim

Deep in the Sahara – Kelly Cunnane

Goha the Wise Fool – Denys Johnson-Davies

Going to Mecca – Na’ima B. Robert

What Does A Muslim Look Like? – Mohamed Abdel-Kader

The Only Brown-Skinned Boy in the Neighborhood – Arif Choudhury

The Farmer’s Wife – Idries Shah

Kids of the Ummah – Peter Gould

Time to Pray – Maha Adddasi

My Name Is Bilal – Asma Mobin-Uddin

The Perfect Gift – J. Samia Mair

Amira’s Totally Chocolate World – J. Samia Mair

The Sandwich Swap – Queen Rania of Jordan

The Apple Tree by Mariam Al-Kalby

Love Your God (Muslim children’s library) -Khurram Murad

One Green Apple – Eve Bunting

Silent Music: A Story of Baghdad – James Rumford

Big Red Lollipop – Rukhsana Khan Ruler of the Courtyard – Rukhsana Khan

Silly Chicken – Rukhsana Khan

Nadia’s Hands – Karen English

Snow White, an Islamic Tale – Fawzia Gilani

The Lost Ring – Fawzia Gilani

Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-Ji! by F.Zia

The Magic Words – Ms Lisha Azad

Allah’s Gifts – Tasnim Nazeer

No More Monsters – Emilia Finamore Saeed

Goodnight Stories from the Quran – Saniya Khan

Adventures in the Nile Valley (Muslim Children’s Library) – Susan Omar

The Colour of Home – Mary Hoffman

I Can Make Du’a Anywhere! – Yasmin Ibrahim

I Can Say Bismillah Anywhere! – Yasmin Ibrahim

Non-Fiction

Muhammad – Demi

Rumi: Whirling Dervish – Demi

Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood – Ibtisam Barakat

The Grand Mosque of Paris: A Story of How Muslims Rescued Jews During the Holocaust – Karen Gray Ruelle

Saladin: Noble Prince of Islam – Diane Stanley

The Genius of Islam: How Muslims Made the Modern World – Bryn Barnard

Ayat Jamilah: Beautiful Signs: A Treasury of Islamic Wisdom for Children and Parents (This Little Light of Mine) – Sarah Conover

1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization (National Geographic Kids) – National Geographic

1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization Paperback – Salim T.S. Al-Hassani

Traveling Man: The Journey of Ibn Battuta 1325-1354 -James Rumford

The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq – Jeanette Winter

YOUNG ADULT

Fiction

Written in the Stars – Aisha Saeed (pre-order)

Rebels by Accident Patricia Dunn (pre-order)

Where the Streets Had a Name – Randa Abdel-Fattah

Shooting Kabul – N. H. Senzai

Saving Kabul Corner – N. H. Senzai

Habibi – Naomi Shehab Nye

Boy Vs. Girl – Na’ima B. Robert

Far From Home – Na’ima B. Robert

From Somalia, With Love – Na’ima B. Robert

From My Sisters’ Lips – Na’ima B. Robert

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind – Suzanne Fisher Staples

The Breadwinner – Deborah Ellis

Parvana’s Journey – Deborah Ellis

Mud City – – Deborah Ellis

My Name is Parvana – – Deborah Ellis

Skunk Girl – Sheba Karim

Does My Head Look Big In This? – Randa Abdel-Fattah

Garden of My Imaan – Farhana Zia

Bestest.Ramadan.Ever – Medeia Sharif

Muslim Girl – Umm Zakiyyah

10 Things I Hate About Me – Randa Abdel-Fattah

A Friendship Promise – Ruby Moore/Umm Zakiyyah

The Friendship Matchmaker – Randa Abdel-Fattah

Guantanamo Boy – Anna Perera

Non-Fiction

The Life of the Prophet Muhammad – Leila Azzam, Aisha Gouverneur

The Autobiography of Malcolm X: As Told to Alex Haley – Malcolm X

Extraordinary Women from the Muslim World – Natalie Maydell, Sep Riahi, Heba Amin

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban – Malala Yousafzai

Daughters of the Desert: Stories of Remarkable Women from Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Traditions – Claire Rudolph Murphy

American Islam: Growing up Muslim in America Paperback – Richard Wormser

The American Muslim Teenagers Handbook – Dilara, Yasmine & Imran Hafiz

Everyday Struggles: The Stories of Muslim Teens – Sumaiya Beshir

Growing Up Muslim in America: Stories by Muslim Youth – Marie Glancy O’Shea, Laura Longhine and Keith Hefner

Muslim Teenagers Coping – Ruqaiyyah Waris Maqsood

ADULT

Cookbooks

Queen of Months: An eco-halal Sufi vegan/vegetarian cookbook for Ramadan and beyond – Ibrahim Farajaje (Ibrahim baba)

The Iraqi Cookbook – Lamees Ibrahim

Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies – Najmieh Batmanglij

Tagines & Couscous: Delicious Recipes for Moroccan One-pot Cooking – Ghillie Basan

At Home with Madhur Jaffrey: Simple, Delectable Dishes from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka – Madhur Jaffrey

Poetry

The Masnavi, Books One, Two & Three (Oxford World’s Classics) – Jalal al-Din Rumi, translated by Jawid Mojaddedi

E-mails to Scheherazade – Mohja Kahf

Muslim Women Mystics: The Life and Work of Rabi’a and Other Women Mystics in Islam (Great Islamic Thinkers) – Margaret Smith

Growing Up in Someone Else’s Shoes – Sam Pierstorff

The Green Sea of Heaven: Fifty Ghazals from the Diwan of Hafiz – Elizabeth T. Gray and Daryush Shayegan

Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth – Warsan Shire

Salt – Nayyirah Waheed

Nejma – Nayyirah Waheed

Love, Gnosis & Other Suicide Attempts – Amir Sulaiman

Graphic Novels/Graphic Memoirs/Comics

Ms. Marvel (comic) – G. Willow Wilson

40 Sufi Comics (graphic novel/comic) – Mohammaed Ali Vakil & Mohammed Arif Vakil

The Wise Fool of Baghdad (graphic novel/comic)

Rumi (graphic novel/comic) (pre-order) – Mohammed Ali Vakil & Mohammed Arif Vakil

Cairo (graphic novel) – G. Willow Wilson and M.K. Perker

Persepolis (graphic memoir/comic)- Marjane Satrapi

Kampung Boy (graphic memoir/comic) – Lat

Town Boy (graphic memoir/comic) – Lat

Spiritual/Religious

The Message of the Qur’an – translation/commentary by Muhammad Asad

The Qur’an (Oxford World’s Classics) – translation by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem

Qur’an – translation by M. Abdel Haleem

In the Footsteps of the Prophet – Tariq Ramadan

Dear Beloved Son – Imam Al-Ghazali

Memories of Mohammad – Omid Safi

Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources by Martin Lings

Muhammad, As If You Can See Him – Aidh Al Qarni

Women of Sufism: A Hidden Treasure – Camille Adams Helminski

Reclaim Your Heart – Yasmin Mogahed

Way to the Qur’an- Ustadh Khurram Murad

The Book of Nature: A Sourcebook of Spiritual Perspectives on Nature and the Environment – Camille Helminski

The Book of Character: An Anthology of Writings on Virtue from Islamic and Other Sources – Camille Helminski

The Light of Dawn: Daily Readings from the Holy Qur’an – Camille Adams Helminski

Women around the Messenger – Muhammad Ali Qutb and Abdur-Rafi Adewale Imam

Spiritual Gems by Ja’far as-Sadiq, Jurisprudence of Prophetic Bio by M.S.R. al-Bouti

My Soul is a Woman: The Feminine in Islam – Annemarie Schimmel

Purification of the Heart: Signs, Symptoms and Cures of the Spiritual Diseases of the Heart – Hamza Yusuf

The Prophetic Invocations Compiled – Imam Al Haddad

Radical Reform by Tariq Ramadan

al-Maqasid by Imam an-Nawawi (tr. Nuh Keller)

Creed of Imam at-Tahawi (tr. Hamza Yusuf).

Striving in the Path of God – Asma Afsaruddin

The Lives of Muhammad – Kecia Ali

Qur’an and Woman: Rereading the Sacred Text from a Woman’s Perspective – Amina Wadud

The Heart of Islam: Enduring Values for Humanity – Seyyed Hossein Nasr

The Garden of Truth: The Vision and Promise of Sufism, Islam’s Mystical Tradition – Seyyed Hossein Nasr

Islam & the Destiny of Man – Charles Le Gai Eaton

Purification of the Soul – compilation from Ibn al Qayum/Ghazali

Du’a: The Weapon of the Believer – Yasir Qadhi

Fiction

Painted Hands – Jennifer Zobair

Alif the Unseen – G. Willow Wilson

Throne of the Crescent Moon – Saladin Ahmed

The Writing on my Forehead – Nafisa Haji

The Sweetness of Tears – Nafisa Haji

Minaret – Leila Aboulela

The Lemon Grove – Ali Hosseni

Together Tea – Marjan Kamali

Domestic Crusaders – A Play – Wajahat Ali

Madras on Rainy Days: A Novel – Samina Ali

My Accidental Jihad – Krista Bremer

The Order of Light – Haroon Moghul

Falsipedies & Fibsiennes – Ali Eteraz

The Fifth Lash and Anataolia and Other Stories by Anis Shivani

I Dream of Microwaves by Imad Rahman

Mother of All Believers: A Novel of The Birth of Islam – Kamran Pasha

Shadow of the Swords: An Epic Novel of the Crusades – Kamran Pasha

Master of the Jinn: A Sufi Novel – Irving Karchmar

If I Should Speak – Umm Zakiyyah

Paradise – Abdul Razak Gurnah

Death and the Dervish – Meša Selimović

A God in Every Stone – ‪Kamila Shamsie

River of Fire – Qurratulain Hyder

Thinner Than Skin – Uzma Aslam Khan

American Dervish – Ayad Akhtar

Our Lady of Alice Bhatti – ‪Mohammed Hanif

The Scatter Here is Too Great – Bilal Tanweer

Other Rooms, Other Wonders – Daniyal Mueenuddin

Forty Rules of Loves – Elif Shafak

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf – Mohja Kahf

A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini

Moth Smoke – Mohsin Hamid

The Reluctant Fundamentalist – Mohsin Hamid

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia -Mohsin Hamid

Bitter Sweets – Roopa Farooki

Half Life – Roopa Farooki

The Way Things Look to Me – Roopa Farooki

Corona – Bushra Rehman

Rooftops of Tehran – Mahbod Seraji

 

Non-Fiction

Anthology/Memoir

Salaam, Love: American Muslim Men on Love, Sex & Intimacy – Eds. Ayesha Mattu & Nura Maznavi

Love, Inshallah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women – Eds. Ayesha Mattu & Nura Maznavi

Growing Up X – Ilyasah Shabazz

The Butterfly Mosque: A Young American Woman’s Journey to Love and Islam – G. Willow Wilson

Haldol & Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life – Melody Moezzi

Meatless Days – Sara Suleri

Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism – Ed. Bushra Rehman

Barefoot in Baghdad: A Memoir – Manal Omar

Tripping with Allah: Islam, Drugs, and Writing – Michael Muhammad Knight

Children of Dust: A Portrait of a Muslim as a Young Man – Ali Eteraz

War on Error: Real Stories of American Muslims – Melody Moezzi

My Country, ‘Tis of Thee: My Faith, My Family, Our Future – Keith Ellison

Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, in the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation – Eboo Patel

I Speak for Myself: American Women on Being Muslim – Eds. Maria M Ebrahimji & Zahra T Suratwa

All-American: 45 American Men on Being Muslim – Ed. Zahra Suratwala & Wajahat Ali

Love in a Headscarf – Shelina Janmohamed

 

General

Paranormal Obsession: America’s Fascination with Ghosts & Hauntings, Spooks & Spirits – Deonna Kelli

Do Muslim Women Need Saving? – Lila Abu-Lughod

Believing Women in Islam – Asma Barlas

How Does It Feel To Be a Problem? Being Young & Arab in America – Moustafa Bayoumi

Destiny Disrupted – Tamim Ansari

Opium Nation – Fariba Nawa

Western Muslims and the Future of Islam – Tariq Ramadan

The Road to Mecca – Mohammed Asad

Inside The Gender Jihad: Women’s Reform in Islam – Amina Wadud

The Hadj: An American’s Pilgrimage to Mecca – Michael Wolfe

Marriage and Slavery in Early Islam – Kecia Ali

Sexual Ethics And Islam: Feminist Reflections on Qur’an, Hadith, and Jurisprudence – Kecia Ali

No god but God: The Origins and Evolution of Islam – Reza Aslan

Sex and the Citadel: Intimate Life in a Changing Arab World – Shereen El Feki

The Bargain from the Bazaar: A Family’s Day of Reckoning in Lahore – Haroon K. Ullah

Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America – Eboo Patel

A Soaring Minaret: Abu Bakr al-Wasiti and the Rise of Baghdadi Sufism – Laury Silvers

Muslim American Women on Campus: Undergraduate Social Life and Identity – Shabana Mir


15 Comments on “#RamadanReads – A Book Buying Revolution”

  1. Suzanne Muir says:

    I love love love this idea! As a Muslim children’s author we need to make this a real thing – every year. I’m in Canada and I will share and get this going in the greater Toronto area. Also if you would like to add an ebook category there are quite a few good stories on iTunes for iPad/iphone. My books are also there in iTunes – Allah Made The World and Ramadan Mubarak Happy Ramadan! http://www.overthemoonstories.com

  2. http://reemfaruqi.com/childrens-book-reviews-by-the-doodler/
    The link in list above wasn’t working! Not sure why- thanks!great list btw!

  3. […] asking communities to visit or call their local bookstores and libraries to order books from the gift list we compiled, letting them know that their request is part of the National #RamadanReads Campaign. We want this […]

  4. […] asking communities to visit or call their local bookstores and libraries to order books from the gift list we compiled, letting them know that their request is part of the National #RamadanReads Campaign. We want this […]

  5. […] asking communities to visit or call their local bookstores and libraries to order books from the gift list we compiled, letting them know that their request is part of the National #RamadanReads Campaign. We want this […]

  6. Jennifer says:

    The Jannah Jewels series of books are nice also, Allah is Ar-Rahman and Allah is Al-Khaliq are great board books, Hijab and Basketball, What do we say by Noorah Kathryn Abdullah, Allah Gave Me Two Ears to Hear, Allah Gave Me a Tongue to Taste, Allah Gave Me Two Eyes to See, A Song for Me by Lisa Abdelsalam, A Trust of Treasures and Miraculous Happenings in the Year of the Elephant by Mehded Maryam Sinclair, The Genius of Islam, 1001 Inventions: The Enduring Legacy of Muslim Civilization, 1001 Inventions and Awesome Facts from Muslim Civilization. Ad-Duha Institute’s Mini Tafseer series are all excellent also.

  7. Shirien says:

    Aliyah’s First Ramadan – By Shirien Elamawy

  8. […] If you want to learn more about the #RamadanReads campaign and a list of books by Muslim authors get the full story here. […]

  9. […] become the Ramadan Reads campaign, which kicked off today on both Twitter and the Muslim blogs Love, Inshallah, Story and Chai and Muslimah […]

  10. […] become the Ramadan Reads campaign, which kicked off today on both Twitter and the Muslim blogs Love, Inshallah, Story and Chai and Muslimah […]

  11. […] The folks over at Love Inshallah have a fabulous list here. […]

  12. […] To learn more about Aisha, visit her website and follower her on Twitter. Watch the video below to learn about We Need Diverse Books. Click here for Aisha’s #RAMADANREADS2014.  […]