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Diversify YA Life: Islamic Mythology & Middle Eastern Folktales

Jinns have made a remarkable appearance in YA fiction in the last couple of years and with it comes diverse characters.

A Jinn is any of a class of spirits, lower than the angels, capable of appearingin human and animal forms and influencing humankind for either good or evil.

Below, you’ll find a list of YA fiction about Jinns.

When Zahara is released from her lamp she finds herself in a world where her magic is forbidden but when the King offers her permanent release, she must decide between freedom from the lamp or love.

This twisted tale changes one plot detail from popular Disney stories.  Whole New World asks what would happen if Jafar was the first one to summon the genie.

Azra, a Jinn, is evading her Jinn duties and masquerades as a human but when she discovers her powers are different from her Jinn friends, she must find out if her new powers will save or endanger her friends.

When Zayele is forced to marry a prince of Baghdad, she finds a Jinn and wishes to trade places.

Nalia is a powerful Jinn who was sold in the Jinn slave trade.  She’s stuck in a bottle and must grant wishes for her horrible Hollywood master. One day Nalia meets Raif who promises to free her but it’s a high price and Nalia isn’t sure she can trust him.

Amani lives in Dustwalk where nothing happens.  When her sharpshooting skills fails to aid in her escape, she finds a wanted stranger to help.

Islamic Mythology & Middle Eastern Folktales Printable Booklist

— Dawn Abron, currently watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown

3 Comments

  1. Stefanie N. Hughes Stefanie N. Hughes

    Oh, definitely add Golem and the Jinni by Helen Wecker to this list. It’s an adult book, but suitable for young adults. It combines the Jewish legend of golems, artificial human beings in Hebrew folklore endowed with life, and the Arabic folklore of Jinn.

    A female golem and a male jinn find themselves in Manhattan, NY at the turn of the nineteenth century. Golem finds herself without a master, and somewhat enslaved by the restrictive female role. Jinn finds himself literally enslaved and unable to return to his proper place, and he too is restricted by what is considered acceptable behavior. Even though they are diametrically opposite, they understand that they are both square pegs that society is trying to shove into a round holes. Their otherness gives them a great vantage point to observe and comment on social norms, particularly gender roles.

    • Dawn Abron Dawn Abron

      Thanks for the recommendation.

  2. Most of the above stories represent the lively expression of a lay and secular imagination in revolt against religious austerity and zeal in oriental literature. They depicts a fanciful and fabulous world of Jinns and sorcerers, but their baldness, realism, and variety of subjects matter also firmly anchor them to everyday life .

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