Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Yo Soy Muslim

Title: Yo Soy Muslim: A Father's Letter to His Daughter 
Author: Mark Gonzales  
Illustrator: Mehrdokht Amini 
Publisher: Salaam Reads / Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 29th, 2017 
Genre/Format:  
GoodReads Summary: From Muslim and Latino poet Mark Gonzales comes a touching and lyrical picture book about a parent who encourages their child to find joy and pride in all aspects of their multicultural identity.

Dear little one,
…know you are wondrous.
A child of crescent moons,
a builder of mosques,
a descendant of brilliance,
an ancestor in training.

Written as a letter from a father to his daughter, Yo Soy Muslim is a celebration of social harmony and multicultural identities. The vivid and elegant verse, accompanied by magical and vibrant illustrations, highlights the diversity of the Muslim community as well as Indigenous identity. A literary journey of discovery and wonder, Yo Soy Muslim is sure to inspire adults and children alike. 
What I Think: Over the summer I watched a video that talked about how many people are hispanic and Jewish. This book reminded me of that because Mark Gonzales is Latino and Muslim and this book is written as a letter to his daughter. These are two examples of how important it is to learn people's stories and not assume things about people. As a reader who is Latina but not Muslim, I loved his words to his daughter and I love reading how he talks to his daughter about navigating the world and being proud of who she is. My dad's letter to me or my letter to my sons might be similar but still different. 
     As a mentor text, I love the idea of asking parents to write letters to their kids or even to have kids write letters to themselves. As much as we all have different experiences, as humans, we do also have things in common. I love this book and this idea of writing letters to ourselves as an opportunity to explore these commonalities and differences and to expand our understanding of how we are each unique but still need to be loved and lifted up. 
     Last week, a teacher friend asked me how to respond to a student telling her about reading the Bible as his independent reading at home. While we have to be cautious about discussing religion in school, I still think we can have conversations about the fact that people have different beliefs and that people have their right to their own beliefs. This book is another opportunity to show how people have different beliefs...but again, how we are all humans and are connected even though we have different beliefs and opinions.
Snatch of Text:  
"There are questions we al ask when we are learning what it means to be human. 

Who invented my hands?
Why wasn't I born with wings?
And
does the moon ever get lonely?"
Writing Prompt: Why did Mark Gonzales choose to write this book as a letter to his daughter? How does that choice impact the purpose behind his words?

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