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Two Teenagers Start a Non-Profit Organisation to Increase Books With Female Muslim Characters in Libraries

by in Identity on 18th April, 2019

Mena and Zena Nasiri, aged 14 and 16 respectively are two American Muslim girls from Michigan who love to read but found themselves struggling to find books with female Muslim characters in libraries. Longing to see themselves reflected in literature, they came up with the project idea to start collecting books with female Muslims as main characters, catalog and then donate them to public and school libraries. After seeing significant results in their community, they decided to expand their reach and form a nonprofit organisation girlsofthecrescent.org.

“Books have an immense impact on how children behave, socialize, and see themselves in the world,” they told Smart Girls. “That’s why having good characters as role models that children can connect with is important. When children see characters like themselves portrayed positively in books they feel a sense of acceptance and belonging.”

To date, the pair have donated more than 200 books to community schools and libraries. Some of the titles they’ve collected and donated include The Lines We Cross by Randa Abdel-Fattah, A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini and children’s books, Meet Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi and The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter.

You can get involved in the movement by contacting Girls of the Crescent for help distributing books in your community and/ or make donations. The Nasiri sisters are also in the process of writing their own book.

“Our goal is to make sure that children like us will be able to read books with characters like themselves and to increase diversity in literature.”

Selina Bakkar

Selina Bakkar

Co-founder of Amaliah amongst many other roles. Selina is passionate about empowering those around her and just trying to be a better person. She loves looking after plants and a good cuppa because motherhood and running Amaliah.com is not for the faint hearted. She is also Co-founder to Aishah and Eesa and currently a one digit mother, Alhamdulilah. You will find her in the local charity shop, garden centre or park with her kids. Have a listen to the Amaliah Voices podcast. Link in bio peeps. To join the Amaliah Writer Community email me at [email protected]