Book Review: In My Mosque
Title: In My Mosque
Author: M.O. Yuksel
Illustrator: Hatem Aly
Themes: Community, Kindness, Friendship, Interfaith/Intercultural connections, Empathy, Understanding, Family, Love, Peace, Intergenerational connections
Book Category: Picture Book
This is a beautiful book that shows us the powerful and foundational role that a mosque plays in the community by being a hub. The lovely words and compelling illustrations celebrate the Muslim identity for all of it’s multiple intersections. The overarching message is that all are welcome in the mosque for who they are and that everyone has a space. The book exudes warmth and care. It is a must-read for all. The backmatter of the book helps us continue to learn more.
When I saw this book online, I quickly ordered it! I checked the mail daily, waiting for it to arrive. When I held it in my hands I couldn't believe it! I was soo excited! A book about an aspect of my identity? In a positive, beautiful and affirming way? I was in love with the words and illustrations. I gave the book a big hug.
This is a book for all classrooms, libraries, and community spaces because it affims as well as expands ideas around the Muslim identity and shows us the true meaning of community. This book is full of positive energy and messages. One of the most powerful messages that this book communicates is that the Muslim community is dynamic, diverse, and intersectional. For too long, stories and the wider sociopolitical contexts and narratives have portrayed the Muslim community as one dimensional and monolithic. These narratives have ascribed limited meaning to the Muslim identity, which is harmful and perpetuates stereoypes. In this book,, these singular ideas about Muslims are disrupted by showing the many similarities as well as differences within the Muslim community. It expands our ideas around what a Muslim is ‘supposed’ to look like by showing us the many identities Muslims have. As the book says, “we are a rainbow of colours and speak in different accents.” In subtle but powerful ways we can see stereotypes being dismantled. The beautiful intersectionalities of the Muslim community are visible from the beginning all the way till the end.
Another powerful message this book communicates is the idea around interfaith/intercultural connections. It shows us that one of the foundational messages of Islam is co-existence and building bridges of understanding, humanity and dignity, for each other. The book says, “In my mosque, we pray for peace, love, and joy… just like my friends who worship in churches, temples, and synagogues.” This is an inspiring message which is a relevant reminder for the times we are in, where there are so many dominant discourses that are used to divide and separate people. It is important to bring each other back to the centre, basing the community on inclusion, understanding, and relationships. The last pages says “You are welcome in my mosque,” and this message of welcoming is what is communicated throughout by the carefully chosen words and the vibrant, intricate, and lively illustrations.
Questions Before Reading:
What is a Mosque?
How do you feel when you look at the cover of the book?
What do you notice about the characters on the book cover? What do you think this book is about?
Questions During Reading:
What are some of the different things people are doing at the Mosque?
What do you notice in regards to the diversity you see amongst the people throughout the book?
As you read the book, what is something new you are learning? What is something you already knew about Mosques and Muslims?
Questions After Reading:
Why is it important to learn about each other?
Is there a special and important place in your community that makes you feel welcome and included? What are some of the things that you do there? Why is this place so special to you?
Why is it important to learn about the ways we are similar and different?
Group Activity: Can you do some research about the different Mosques illustrated throughout the book?