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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
“We are all beautiful in our own unique ways.” Iman’s mother has often told her daughters to respect themselves and their inner beauty. It doesn’t matter what a person looks like or what they wear, everyone is, or at least has the potential to be, beautiful. Iman is hurt when sitting alone for lunch at her new school she overhears fellow students commenting on her hijab. They think she’s hiding something, although one girl does comment on how pretty the hijab is. Iman goes home troubled and deep in thought, but talking things over with her mother and her sister, she feels empowered and knows what to do the next day. She understands now that sometimes when people don’t know all the facts, they jump to the wrong conclusions. And she plans to set things straight.
Zinet Kemal's young people’s story, Proud in Her Hijab: A Story of Family Strength, Empowerment, and Identity, is a compassionate look at one girl’s journey into accepting who she is and that, yes, she is beautiful like everyone else. The story is both educational and inspirational especially for young girls to recognize their inner beauty and be proud of themselves. The plot follows Iman’s journey from hurt to empowerment as she returns to school intent on teaching her fellow students about her hijab and that she does have beautiful (and clean) hair underneath. The story is told in simple language so young readers can read along and it’s accompanied by colorful illustrations. The story will definitely inspire young readers to be confident in what they wear and in who they are – we are who we are for a reason and we shouldn’t have to cower to others’ opinions of us. Be yourself and be proud of who you are. It took courage for Iman to stand up to her classmates, but she did it with both pride and respect for them as well as herself. The book ends with a list of the important themes covered in the story, including respect, kindness, as well as the importance of family and friendships. Beautifully told.