NY Humanities Council ``Together Muslim Voices`` Teens' Book List

Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos

Since emigrating from Bangladesh, fourteen-year-old Nadira and her family have been living in New York City on expired visas, hoping to realize their dream of becoming legal U.S. citizens. But then her father is detained at the U.S.-Canadian border after September 11th, and Nadira and her sister are forced to abandon their home and live with neighbors as their family falls apart. Only Nadira can put it back together.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi

Told in comic book format, Persepolis is the autobiographical account of a young girl’s life in Iran under the Islamic Revolution. At first, Marji’s parents welcome the new regime over the corrupt Shah. But they soon become disillusioned as ordinary freedoms are taken away—women are forced to wear “the veil” in public and people are routinely rounded up and hauled away with no explanation. Her parents must then make a choice: allow their daughter to stay in a country where they fear for her safety, or send her away to Europe.

Beneath My Mother’s Feet by Amjed Qamar

Fourteen-year-old Nazia’s destiny has been mapped out: she will continue to go to school in Karachi before preparing for an impending marriage to a cousin back in her father’s village. However, when her father is injured at work, and her older brother disappears, Nazia is pulled out of school by her mother and put to work cleaning houses. As the family descends further into poverty, Nazia is forced to confront an uncomfortable reality—that the life she expected will not go as planned.

How Does it Feel to be a Problem? by Moustafa Bayoumi

Bayoumi has compiled a collection of portraits from seven different men and women in an effort to capture what it means to be a young Arab-American in the United States today. His subjects, and their stories, are diverse, ranging from high school students who are excluded from school activities to veterans of the war in Iraq.

** This book is listed under all three themes. The stories of Rasha, Sami and Lina can be discussed under the theme of courage.

From Somalia with Love by Na’ima B. Robert

Safia Dirie is teenager living with her mother and brothers in a Somali neighborhood in East London. Yet when her mother announces that her father is coming to London to live with them—a father whom Safia barely remembers and who has been missing for twelve years in Somalia—Safia is apprehensive about the reunion, but nothing can prepare her for the clash of cultures that comes with her father’s presence.

How Does it Feel to be a Problem? by Moustafa Bayoumi

Bayoumi has compiled a collection of portraits from seven different men and women in an effort to capture what it means to be a young Arab-American in the United States today. His subjects, and their stories, are diverse, ranging from high school students who are excluded from school activities to veterans of the war in Iraq.

** This book is listed under all three themes. The stories of Yasmin and Rami can be discussed under the theme of faith.

Child of Dandelions by Shenaaz Nanji

The summer of 1972 brings about sweeping changes in Uganda and the life of fifteen-year-old Sabine. Ugandan president Idi Amin has announced that all “foreign Asians” must leave the country in 90 days. Though ethnically “Indian”, Sabine is a Ugandan citizen and thinks little of the proclamation. But soon after, life as Sabine knows it begins to fall apart. She soon realizes that she and her family must make a choice—either stay in Uganda and risk punishment or death, or leave the only country they has ever known.

No Safe Place by Deborah Ellis

Orphaned and plagued with the grief of losing everyone he loves, fifteen-year-old Abdul has made a long, fraught journey from his war-torn home in Baghdad, only to end up in a squalid, makeshift migrant community in Calais, France. He takes a spot in a small, overloaded boat heading to England and full of other illegal migrants, but a sudden skirmish leaves the boat stalled in the middle of the Channel, the pilot dead, and four young people remaining—Abdul, Rosalia, a Romani girl who has escaped from the white slave trade, Cheslav, gone AWOL from a Russian military school, and Jonah, the boat pilot’s ten-year-old nephew.

Skunk Girl by Sheba Karim

Sixteen-year-old Nina Khan not only has to deal with being the only Muslim and South Asian in town, she also has a perfect future-doctor sister, strict parents, and a hairy stripe down her back. Though Nina has devoted friends, she feels like the odd one out until she meets Asher Richelli, an Italian transfer student. Nina struggles to be an American teenager while staying true to her parents’ conservative viewpoints and Muslim faith.

How Does it Feel to be a Problem? by Moustafa Bayoumi

Bayoumi has compiled a collection of portraits from seven different men and women in an effort to capture what it means to be a young Arab-American in the United States today. His subjects, and their stories, are diverse, ranging from high school students who are excluded from school activities to veterans of the war in Iraq.

** This book is listed under all three themes. The stories of Rasha, Sami and Lina can be discussed under the theme of community.

Teen Book List Scholar-Advisors

Dr. Moustafa Bayoumi is a professor of English at Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He is author of How Does It Feel To Be a Problem?: Being Young and Arab in America (Penguin), which has won an American Book Award and the Arab American Book Award for Non-Fiction. His writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, The Guardian, The Chronicle of Higher Education, The National, CNN.com, The London Review of Books, The Nation, and other places. Bayoumi is also the editor of Midnight on Mavi Marmara: the Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How It Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict (O/R Books and Haymarket Books). Bayoumi’s academic essays have been published by The Yale Journal of Criticism, Transition, Souls, Interventions, Amerasia, Middle East Report, and others. His work has been widely anthologized. Bayoumi has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Sun-Times, and on CNN, FOX News, Book TV, and National Public Radio. Panel discussions on How Does It Feel To Be A Problem? have been convened at The Museum of the City of New York, PEN American Center, Drexel Law School, and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Dr. Athena Devlin is an Associate Professor of English and American Studies at St. Francis College. She directs both the Women’s Studies Minor and the American Studies Program, which she designed. Dr. Devlin has published a book on masculinity entitled Between Profits and Primitivism: Shaping White Middle-Class Masculinity in the U.S., 1880-1917 (Routledge 2005). Her work on gender has appeared in other publications including The Columbia Journal of American Studies and she has presented numerous papers on gender in American culture. More recently she has presented papers and designed interdisciplinary courses on responses to September 11th. Her current research (a book- length project) is on representations of the war on terror in fiction and film. She is particularly interested in constructions of gender and the West in the work of writers and filmmakers from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Algeria.

Susan L. Douglass has an M.A. in Arab Studies from the Georgetown University Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and B.A. in History from the University of Rochester. She is currently a doctoral candidate in history at George Mason University, managing an NEH Bridging Cultures grant project at the Ali Vural Ak Center for Global Islamic Studies. Since 2007, she has conducted educational outreach workshops for school districts, college and university outreach and community groups for the Alwaleed bin Talal Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University. Her major publications include World Eras: Rise and Spread of Islam, 622-1500 (Thomson/Gale 2002), Teaching About Religion in National and State Social Studies Standards (Freedom Forum First Amendment Center and Council on Islamic Education 2000) teaching resources for the Council on Islamic Education and the National Center for History in the Schools, among others. She has developed online teaching resources for Unity Productions Foundation documentary films such as Muhammad: Legacy of a Prophet, Cities of Light, and Inside Islam. Most recently, she designed and developed the website The Indian Ocean in World History (indianoceanhistory.org) for the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center in the Middle East Institute.

Dr. Janani Subramanian is an Assistant Professor of Film Studies at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis. She received her Ph.D. in Critical Studies at the School of Cinematic Arts, University of Southern California. Professor Subramanian’s doctoral research focused race and representation across American literature and film, and currently extends into race, ethnicity and representation across multiple genres, with an emphasis on the ways that critical race theory influences and is influenced by the formal and cultural facets of popular media texts. She is currently revising a book manuscript based on her dissertation entitled Speculative Texts: Fantasy, Representation and Media. Her work has appeared in Spectator: The University of Southern California Journal of Film and Television Criticism, Science Fiction Film and Television, Flow: A Critical Forum on Television and Media Culture, Film Quarterly, and a newly released volume, TV and Temporality: Exploring Narrative Time in 21st Century Programming (University of Mississippi Press, 2012).