Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter caught my eye in an email newsletter. I was not sure I was going to like it. The cover with the young girl with large lips and larger eyes, and the father with the oddly shaped head, where awkward at first glance. But then there was the story. It may not be my favorite story, it might not become a classic, but it is a lovely story, a poem, with unique illustrations to send the message.
Mark Gonzales words are a love note to his daughter. They tell her how she should be proud of where she and her people come from, where they are, and where they are going. This story of love and acceptance in a troubling time, is timeless, classic and something all should read and can relate to.
The illustrations are by Mehrdokht Amini. And they are something else, for sure. As I said, we have a young girl with large, brown, eyes. A father with an oddly shaped head. We have gossipy women with necks so thin I am afraid their heads will tip over and topple off. There are angels with a side view so only one eye can be seen. And there are the bold, beautiful, powerful colors of golds and teals of the mothers clothing, the red and orange and greens of the little girl’s dress, the deep blue of the night sky. There are purples, reds, oranges, blues, and all the colors. Even the darker images are bold and strong. Making the colors pop even more. After a bit, I actually started to get into the art and appreciate the uniqueness of it. They are not all my favorites, but I did see how they are what was needed to make this story fresh and fun.
This is a story we know (the love of a father and having pride in yourself and culture) but is fresh with the diverse cast of people, and details shown. It can be an all-ages book, but also is a know your reader as some images might be a tad tense for a more sensitive reader. There is nothing wrong with them, but the darker images might not be for them.