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Mommys Khimar

by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

Kirkus From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl's family and community as she walks around in "Mommy's khimar," or headscarf.The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother's khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl's braids and twists "form a bumpy crown" under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a "hijab," and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out "Sweet Jesus!" as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but "We are a family and we love each other just the same." The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story's joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist's culture and enlighten readers who don't. With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group. (Picture book. 4-8) Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

School Library Journal PreS-K-A young child is enchanted by her mother's many colorful khimars. She uses them to play dress-up, imagining herself as a queen, a mama bird covering her baby brother in his nest, or a superhero in a cape. The girl can inhale her mother's scent and comfort herself even if her mother is not near. She is even allowed to wear one of the khimars to the mosque where she is lovingly admired by a crowd of older women ("'Assalamu alaikum, Little Sis!'"). Her non-Muslim grandmother also makes an appearance and readers are told, "She doesn't go to the mosque like Mommy and Daddy do. We are a family and we love each other just the same." The child-narrator speaks in simple, clear sentences describing a supportive and loving family and community. However, Glenn's soft-colored, flat illustrations miss an opportunity to add visual depth and texture to the book. They serve their purpose, but don't enrich it. VERDICT A sweet addition to picture book collections.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NY Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Publishers Weekly Mommy, an African-American Muslim woman, has a closet full of the beautiful flowing headscarves called khimars (another character refers to them as hijabs later in the story). Her imaginative daughter's favorite khimar is bright yellow, and readers follow along as the young narrator wears it in daylong dress-up play. Enveloped in the scents of coconut oil, cocoa butter, and cinnamon that linger in the khimar, the girl feels protected, loved, and bigger than life. At her mosque, she is welcomed into the world of pious women, as her mother's friends greet her with, "Assalamu alaikum, Little Sis!" The yellow khimar is also emblematic of the unconditional love within the girl's extended family: when her grandmother stops by after church ("She doesn't go to the mosque like Mommy and Daddy do"), she greets the girl with a bright smile and open arms, calling her "Sunshine." Debut author Thompkins-Bigelow's lyrical text and Glenn's lighthearted Disney-style pictures are similarly sunny. Rather than offer an exegesis of the khimar or a plea for acceptance and understanding, they allow their heroine's carefree confidence to speak for itself. Ages 4-8. Illustrator's agency: Bright Group. (Apr.) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Book list In this ebullient picture book, readers come to share in the delight a little girl takes in wearing her mother's khimar another term for hijab. For the girl, her mother's rainbow collection of beautiful khimars is a source of wonder, power, and intimacy, much like any mother's closet of pretty things might be for a young child. Her favorite one is yellow, and she wears it like a superhero wears her cape, imagining herself shining like the sun and shooting through the sky like a star. She recognizes her mother's fragrances coconut oil and cocoa butter which ensure the security of her mother's presence even in her absence. This affirming book will be a welcome mirror for Muslim and interfaith families, and a necessary counter to Islamophobic discourse. The illustrations are as lively and brightly colored as the khimars themselves, and smiling faces of friends and family members echo the warm message of the text.--Chaudhri, Amina Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

Horn Book A young girl admires her mother and the bright khimars she uses to cover her head in observance of her Muslim faith. As she plays dress-up with her mother's yellow khimar, cheerful illustrations show the girl's imaginative play ("I am a superhero in a cape") and love for her family. A sweet family story with an affirming depiction of a black Muslim family in a supportive multicultural community. (c) Copyright 2019. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.