Asma Mobin-Uddin MD M.D. My Name is Bilal

ISBN 13: 9781590781753

My Name is Bilal

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A young boy wrestles with his Muslim identify in this picture book for children written by Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin, with illustrations by Barbara Kiwak.

When Bilal and his sister Ayesha move with their family, they have to attend a new school. They soon find out that they may be the only Muslim students there. When Bilal sees his sister bullied on their first day, he worries about being teased himself, and thinks it might be best if his classmates didn't know that he is Muslim. Maybe if he tells kids his name is Bill, rather than Bilal, then they would leave him alone. Mr. Ali, one of Bilal's teachers and also Muslim, sees how Bilal is struggling. He gives Bilal a book about the first person to give the call to prayer during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. That person was another Bilal: Bilal Ibn Rabah. What Bilal learns from the book forms the compelling story of a young boy grappling with his identity.

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About the Author:

Dr. Asma Mobin-Uddin is a pediatrician and an active member of her local Muslim community. She decided to write about the Muslim-American experience because she had difficulty finding good books on this subject to read to her children.

Barbara Kiwak is a commercial illustrator whose clients have included Time-Life, Readers Digest, Highlights for Children, and The World Wildlife Fund. She has had numerous showings of her fine art in the Baltimore/Washington area, where she makes her home.

From Booklist:

Gr. 4-7. Bilal and his sister, Ayesha, who are Muslim, start school in a new city. At first Bilal tries to blend into the largely non-Muslim environment, calling himself Bill and ducking out of sight when two boys try to pull off Ayesha's head scarf. Encouraged by a sympathetic teacher and his own faith, Bilal finds the courage to stand up with his sister the next time the boys tease her. Bilal and Ayesha point out to their adversaries that they too were born in America and that being American means that they can wear what they want. By standing up for his sister, Bilal earns the boys' respect and takes the first step toward a possible friendship. The story is told in picture-book format, though the text is longer than that of most picture books. In the illustrations, the students appear to be in middle school, but the book is accessible to younger children as well. Appearing on nearly every double-page spread, large-scale watercolor paintings clearly portray the actions and attitudes of the characters. A good starting place for discussions of cultural differences, prejudice, and respect for the beliefs of others. Carolyn Phelan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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