Reading & Literacy

Muslim-American Kids Face an Absence of Stories

By Caroline Cournoyer — January 05, 2011 1 min read
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While the Muslim student population in Minnesota is growing, school librarians are struggling to fill their shelves with books these students can relate to, reports the Star Tribune.

There are novels aabout being Muslim in another country, especially a war-torn one, library media specialist Beth Braun told the Tribune. But there’s a lack of literature on young Muslims in America.

“The absence of such stories leads to poor grades in school, feelings of loneliness and alienation, and low self-esteem,” said curriculum expert Freda Shamma, who is creating an anthology of Muslim literature for middle schoolers.

Some argue there’s limited demand and market for such books, according to the Tribune.

But media specialist Leah Larson disagreed. Her library carries Does My Head Look Big in This?, a novel about a high school Muslim girl in Australia who decides to wear the traditional Islamic head covering, and “just can’t keep it on the shelf,” she said.

In response to the Tribune article, Mary Treacy of the Twin Cities Daily Planet wrote that it’s not that books on being Muslim in America don’t exist, but that schools don’t have the time or money to seek them out. In her article, she offers a number of links to booklists for Muslim students.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.