Mommy’s Khimar (Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Mommy’s Khimar, written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow and illustrated by Ebony Glenn, a lovely story of family and love.

A little girl watches her mother closely as the woman affixes her khimar – a flowing scarf that covers her head and hair – with fascination. Her mommy has a whole closet of khimars in seemingly every color and pattern in the rainbow – including the girl’s favorite color, yellow. The girl tries on the too-large scarf and revels in the way it makes her feel: like a queen, a shining star, a nurturing mama bird, and a mighty superhero. Her mother helps her put it on properly, and the girl is comforted by the familiar scent of her mother’s beauty products on the garment. At mosque, her Arabic teacher calls it a “hijab”, and many of the other ladies, also in khimars, compliment her look. When her Christian grandmother stops by to visit after Sunday service, she sweeps the girl up in a bright hug and proclaims “Sweet Jesus!”. At the end of the day, her mother helps her remove the headpiece, and the girl lays down to bed, dreaming of a cozy nest of yellow, and her mother’s warm embrace.

Lovely. As much a celebration of hijabi pride, this tender story is about the connection between a mother and daughter that is relatable across cultures; what little girl didn’t try on her mommy’s coat or shoes or necklaces and feel a just a bit closer to her? But it is a celebration of the khimar as well, and dispels the myth that these headscarfs are symbols of oppression rather than culture or faith; wearing the khimar helps the girl feel empowered, beautiful, and free, rather than the opposite. With the addition of the beautiful, colorful illustrations, these elements fold together beautifully to tell a story that is a gift of representation for Muslim families and a touching story of mother and daughter for readers of any faith. The length was great, JJ loved it, and this one is emphatically Baby Bookworm approved!

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