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The Girls of the Crescent booklist

Head Over Heart

American teenagers Mena and Zena were tired of never finding books featuring characters like them, so they decided to do something about it and set up their organisation Girls of the Crescent.

Here are some of their favourite books featuring Muslim girls.

  • The Muslims

    Author: Zanib Mian
    Publisher: Sweet Apple Publishing and Muslim Children's Books
    Interest age: 7-9
    Reading age: 7-9

    When class bully Daniel tells Omar to go back to his own country, he's not sure how - he's never been there, he can't speak the language, and the pizza is yuck! A funny, warm story that will appeal to fans of Tom Gates.

  • Night of the Moon: A Muslim Holiday Story

    Author: Hena Khan Illustrator: Julie Paschkis
    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Interest age: 6-9
    Reading age: 7+

    This tale about the Muslim holy month of Ramadan is told through the eyes of Yasmeen, a seven-year-old Pakistani-American girl. Beautiful, rich illustrations enhance this joyful and informative picture book. Ideal for either home or in schools.

  • Love, Hate & Other Filters

    Author: Samira Ahmed
    Publisher: Hot Key Books
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 12+

    This book is a brilliant insight into one experience of growing up Muslim in modern-day America, which translates very easily for readers in the UK. 

  • Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets

    Author: Hena Khan Illustrator: Mehrdokht Amini
    Publisher: Chronicle Books
    Interest age: 4-6
    Reading age: 5+

    This beautifully designed picture book with exquisite illustrations explores a variety of shapes relating to Islamic objects and practices. It is perfect to share with children at home or in the classroom.

  • Hats of Faith

    Author: Medeia Cohan Illustrator: Sarah Walsh
    Publisher: Shade 7 Publishing
    Interest age: 2-5

    This instructive board book opens with the simple statement that many religious people wear head coverings to show their love of God. An optimistic and valuable book that celebrates diversity and fosters understanding. 

  • The Truth About Peacock Blue

    Author: Rosanne Hawke
    Publisher: Allen & Unwin
    Interest age: 13-16
    Reading age: 10+

    Set in contemporary Pakistan, this is a disturbing story - inspired by real-life events - in which a schoolgirl is accused of blasphemy and finds herself at the mercy of a brutal judicial system.

  • You’re Not Proper

    Author: Tariq Mehmood
    Publisher: HopeRoad Publishing
    Interest age: 13+
    Reading age: 13+

    A revealing and realistic portrait of the struggle many multi-cultured teenagers face today.

  • She Wore Red Trainers

    Author: Na’ima B Robert
    Publisher: Kube Publishing
    Interest age: 13+
    Reading age: 11+

    An intriguing teenage romance, told from the perspectives of a Muslim boy and girl.

  • Head Over Heart

    Author: Colette Victor
    Publisher: Chicken House
    Interest age: 13+
    Reading age: 7+

    A very timely and topical story about a Muslim girl struggling to balance both cultures while staying true to her family and faith. An enlightening and uplifting story for young teens.

  • The Black Cat Detectives

    Author: Wendy Meddour
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 9+

    Auntie Urooj is lonely so Shaima decides to sign her up with the Truly Deeply Muslims online marriage agency. But her new suitor Rasheed isn't all he appears to be...

  • Drawing a Veil

    Author: Lari Don
    Publisher: A&C Black
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 8+

    When her best friend suddenly turns up at school wearing a black headscarf, Ellie isn’t sure what to think

  • Ramadan Moon

    Author: Na'ima B Robert
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln Childrens Books
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 7+

    During Ramadan, Muslim families all over the world visit their mosques to listen to verses from the Koran. They will eat before dawn and will not eat again until after sunset.

  • We Can Be Heroes

    Author: Catherine Bruton
    Publisher: Egmont
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 12+

    Funny, insightful and surprising – a great debut novel

  • Going to Mecca

    Author: Na'ima B Robert Illustrator: Valentina Cavallini
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 6+
    Reading age: 8+

    This evocative and accessible picture book invites youngsters to journey to Mecca and experience the joys, hardships and rituals of the Hajj with a Muslim family travelling from the West.

  • The Perfect Flower Girl

    Author: Taghred Chandab Illustrator: Binny Talib
    Publisher: Allen & Unwin
    Interest age: 5+
    Reading age: 6+

    Sisters Mariam and Amani are very excited about being flower girls at the wedding feast of their Aunt Sarah and her new husband.

  • HERSTORY: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook the World

    Author: Katherine Halligan Illustrator: Sarah Walsh
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 8-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Celebrated in this lavish hardback, the stories of 50 great women redefine their “herstory”, from disability activist Helen Keller to Indian poet, singer and saint Mira Bai and Aboriginal Australian Olympic athlete Cathy Freeman.

  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

    Author: Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo
    Publisher: Particular Books
    Interest age: 7-10
    Reading age: 7+

    If you're worried that your children experience a lack of female role models in the worlds of science, politics, the arts, history, sport and technology, worry no more!

  • Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

    Author: Rachel Ignotofsky
    Publisher: Wren & Rook
    Interest age: 7-12
    Reading age: 7-12

    The 50 women profiled in this book are leaders in their fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Thoroughly inspiring and informative, in a fun and stylish illustrated format: a must for every child.

  • What Would She Do?

    Author: Kay Woodward
    Publisher: Carlton Books
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 10+

    In this collection of women’s stories from across history and the present day, Kay Woodward introduces the reader to 25 heroines from around the world: featuring awe-inspiring artists, scientists and political activists, among others.

  • I am Malala

    Author: Malala Yousafzai
    Publisher: Hachette Children's Group
    Interest age: 13+
    Reading age: 13+

    This is the real life story of one of the most incredible and inspirational young people in the world. Reading this book might just change the way you think and feel.

  • Amal Unbound

    Author: Aisha Saeed
    Publisher: Text Publishing
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10-12

    Amal lives in a small Pakistani village. When her family are unable to pay the debt their landowner says they owe, he takes Amal to work in his house as a servant. Inspired by Malala Yousafzai, this is a compelling tale of one girl’s determination to make the world a fairer place.

  • Dreams of Freedom

    Author: Amnesty International
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children's Books
    Interest age: 5+
    Reading age: 7

    An essential book that not only introduces children to the importance of human rights, freedom, and the history of these concepts, but also to a wonderful variety of illustrations.

  • My Name is Parvana

    Author: Deborah Ellis
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 13+
    Reading age: 13+

    Fifteen year old Parvana is found by American troops in the ruins of a school in Afghanistan. Through flashbacks we learn her story.

  • She Persisted Around the World

    Author: Chelsea Clinton Illustrator: Alexandra Boiger
    Publisher: Puffin/Philomel Books
    Interest age: 7-9
    Reading age: 7+

    Featuring simply-told stories and glorious illustrations, this book about incredible, determined women from around the world is sure to inspire a generation of young readers.