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The Importance Of Representation

Zinet Kemal Author Interview

Proud in Her Hijab follows a young Muslim girl that is teased at school over her hijab and shows how she deals with the feelings it causes. What was the inspiration for your story?

I am a mom of four amazing children – 2 girls and 2 boys. The inspirations are also my kids, their years of questions they bring from school as they get asked about their hair type, braid styles, and my girls’ hijab. There aren’t many books about hijab and we already have most of them that are out there so during the pandemic we decided to write our story with characters and names that look like our family. I can’t stress enough the importance of representation and how my girls feel empowered seeing and walking to this book in their respective classrooms. The main message is to uplift and empower girls who choose to wear hijab and be proud of their identities. Also to create awareness for readers about the importance of appreciating diversity and inclusion and embedding appreciation for other’s faith and cultural differences.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with illustrator Mia Hay?

Mia Hay is the formatter and designer of the book. She is awesome and very professional. I didn’t have a good experience working with the illustrator being unprofessional and not delivering on time. However, Mia stepped in to finish and finalize the missing pieces and designed the book. She is also my 2nd book’s designer and we are very aligned working together. I wanted to thank her.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Besides the two important lessons mentioned above. The book outlines the main themes of the book at the back. Such as

Be proud of who you are, your beliefs and embrace your identities.
Respect and be kind to everyone including to those who are different from you.
Be brave and stand up for yourself.
Don’t shy away from sharing what you go through. It’s ok to share you feelings to your family and friends.
Get to know someone before judging them.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Yes. I just released my 2nd children’s book titled “Oh, No …Hacked Again!” It’s a story teaching children the importance of online safety and sparking interest for young readers to pursue the field of STEM esp. cybersecurity as a future career option.

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Facebook | Website

What happens when curious children speculate about Iman’s hijab?
“Is she bald?”
“Is her hair dirty?”
There is a fine line between curiosity and ridicule.
Iman must find courage to face the school children.
Proud in Her Hijab is a story that empowers and uplifts girls who choose to wear a hijab while encouraging friendship and respect.
If you are looking for a hijab story of inspiration & courage for your children and loved ones, look no further.

This book is for you!
“A relatable tale of pride and identity that is paired neatly with colorful and expressive illustrations. The summary of themes at the end of the book is a good review for younger readers, and offers a chance for conversation and discussion for parents reading with a child. Kemal has crafted a heartwarming and practical book that elevates kindness, patience, understanding, and cultural sensitivity, which is an essential message for any faith.” Self-Publishing Review

Proud in Her Hijab

Iman is teased at lunch one day by her classmates that do not understand what the hijab is and what it means. She goes home really upset and tells her family what happened. Iman’s mother, sister, and brother validate her feelings and help her see how she is not odd and has no reason to be ashamed of her hijab. They have a long conversation about each of their differences and how they each feel about their different hairstyles. Her mother reminds her that doing hair together is part of their family bonding and traditions.

Proud in Her Hijab: A Story of Family Strength, Empowerment, and Identity is a heartwarming picture book that will not only educate but help young girls feel confident in their choices. While this story focuses on a young Muslim girl wearing her hijab, the message does apply to all children because everyone is unique.

Author Zinet Kemal has written a beautiful children’s book in a way that is conversational, easy to understand, and relatable to children in elementary school. Kemal delicately approaches a difficult topic. Rather than just brushing it off after the family talks, Iman confronts her classmates to educate them and let them know their behavior is hurtful. Iman learns to take pride in her identity and speak up for herself, this is a great message to pass on to young children, especially girls.

This colorful picture book is illustrated by Mia Hay. The illustrations are bold and bright, and the characters are brought to life through these striking images. The combination of the fantastic illustrations and Kemal’s description of the hijab will draw in young readers and encourage them to learn more.

Proud in Her Hijab: A Story of Family Strength, Empowerment, and Identity is a well-conceived and educational picture book for young readers. This is an excellent resource for teachers and parents to teach about diversity and inclusion, different cultures, and kindness.

Pages: 36 | ASIN : B099NX1GTV

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