Introducing children to diverse cultures and stories through literature is an enriching experience that fosters understanding and empathy. In honor of Arab American Heritage Month, here are some exceptional picture books by Arab American authors. These books not only celebrate the nuances of Arab culture but also universal themes of family, friendship, and dreams.

1. Lailah’s Lunchbox by Reem Faruqi

Reem Faruqi’s “Lailah’s Lunchbox” is a touching story about a young girl named Lailah who is excited about fasting for Ramadan for the first time, but nervous about explaining it to her schoolmates. This book beautifully navigates the emotions of trying something new and the joy of sharing one’s culture with friends. Faruqi, herself an acclaimed photographer and storyteller, draws from her own experiences to create a narrative that is both personal and relatable.


2. The Arabic Quilt by Aya Khalil

In “The Arabic Quilt”, Aya Khalil tells the story of Kanzi, a young Egyptian girl who moves to the U.S. and tries to fit in while holding on to her cultural roots. The quilt in the story becomes a metaphor for the multicultural tapestry of America. Khalil’s story is a wonderful tool for teaching children about inclusion and the beauty of diversity. The author’s own experiences as an educator and journalist enrich this story with authenticity and warmth.


3. Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns by Hena Khan

Hena Khan’s “Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns” is a vibrant picture book that celebrates Muslim culture through the eyes of a young girl observing the colors of her world. From the red of her mother’s hijab to the blue of her father’s favorite dish, Khan uses color as a way to introduce young readers to the

culture and daily life of a Muslim family. Khan’s poetic language and rich descriptions make this book a visual and literary delight.


4. Time to Pray by Maha Addasi


Maha Addasi’s “Time to Pray” tells the story of Yasmin, a girl who visits her grandmother in the Middle East and learns the Muslim call to prayer. This book not only introduces children to the practice of prayer in Islam but also depicts the loving bond between Yasmin and her grandmother. Addasi, a noted author and journalist, brings a gentle reverence to her storytelling, making it accessible and meaningful for young readers.


5. The Proudest Blue by Ibtihaj Muhammad

Olympic medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad co-authors “The Proudest Blue,” a story about a young girl whose older sister wears a hijab to school for the first time. This story of strength, pride, and sisterhood is a powerful tale about maintaining one’s identity and dealing with bullies. Muhammad’s own experiences as a fencer who competed in a hijab bring an authentic perspective to this empowering story.


Honoring Arab American Authors

These books by Arab American authors provide a beautiful glimpse into the Arab American experience and are a fantastic resource for families looking to diversify their bookshelves. By sharing these stories, we can help nurture a generation that values cultural diversity and mutual respect. Let’s take this Arab American Heritage Month to explore these narratives and broaden our horizons together.

Continue to honor the contributions of Arab Americans by bringing Youth Equity Stewardship to your school. Youth Equity Stewardship (YES) is an innovative and experiential learning process that activates and sustains authentic partnerships between adults and students leading to compelling, sustainable, vibrant communities. Facilitators foster multi-generational collaboration through music, movement, and visual arts to address complex educational challenges with an asset-based, solution-oriented process that drives continuous improvement.