I have been watching with interest the increasing attention placed on diversity in literature for teens in recent years. The public library in which I work is smack in the middle of the most diverse school district in the entire nation* and at 2:30 every day the library is a riot of languages as students flood in to use the computers and look for materials. The library is heavily used by teens and, while we have been able to provide strong collections in some areas (Bollywood films, Spanish language materials), we simply fall short in others (books for teens in Burmese or Nepali? Dream on). With a significant Muslim population in the community, many of whom are serious readers, I constantly struggle to find relevant titles that will speak to teens wanting to see themselves reflected in what they read.
For a while, it seemed like the only books out there featuring Muslim teens were either about suicide bombers or victims of post-9/11 racial discrimination. With the success of Randa Abdel-Fattah‘s books about everyday Muslim teens who just happen to be struggling with different aspects of their faith, publishers seem to have realized there is a market for them and some have even responded, but it’s happening veeeery slowly. Here are two recent books featuring Muslim main characters: