7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #550: Featuring Mehrdokht Amini

h1 September 3rd, 2017 by jules

“Say it with me: Yo soy Muslim.
Our prayers were here before any borders were.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


Today, I’ve got some illustrations from Mark Gonzales’s Yo Soy Muslim: A Father’s Letter to His Daughter (Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster, August 2017), illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The Booklist reviews says it’s a book that “invites readers into a sacred space.” I love that and how eloquently it captures this book about identity.

This is a loving prayer from Gonzales, a Latino and Muslim poet, to his daughter. Heartfelt and tender, it’s a set of words that expresses pride in cultural and religious heritage, while simultaneously preparing his child for whispers and stares: “[T]here will come a day when some people in the world will not smile at you.” This moment, which comes at the beginning of the book, actually serves as the launching point for her father’s expression of pride in their cultural identity: “On that day,” he tells his daughter, “tell them this: Yo soy Muslim. I am from Allah, angels, and a place almost as old as time. I speak Spanish, Arabic, and dreams. …

The father celebrates, lyrically, the girl’s mother; the rest of the family (including ancestors); their ancient religion (“Our prayers were here before any borders were”); and more. The brightly-colored, patterned illustrations feature the wide-eyed girl exploring her world and culture, and several spreads include her father. How about we let some artwork do the talking?


“It has been said, if you climb a tree
to the very top and laugh, your smile will touch the sky.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


“There are questions this world will ask. What are you? And
where are you from?”

(Click to enlarge spread)


“And there will come a day when some people in the world
will not smile at you.”

(Click to enlarge spread)


“One that day tell them this: Yo soy Muslim. I am from Allah, angels,
and a place almost as old as time. I speak Spanish, Arabic, and dreams.”
(Click to enlarge spread)


YO SOY MUSLIM: A FATHER’S LETTER TO HIS DAUGHTER. Copyright © 2017 by Mark Gonzales. Illustrations copyright © 2017 by Mehrdokht Amini. Illustrations reproduced by permission of the publisher, Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon & Schuster.

Note for any new readers: 7-Imp’s 7 Kicks is a weekly meeting ground for taking some time to reflect on Seven(ish) Exceptionally Fabulous, Beautiful, Interesting, Hilarious, or Otherwise Positive Noteworthy Things from the past week, whether book-related or not, that happened to you. New kickers are always welcome.

* * * Jules’ Kicks * * *

1) Seeing Americans rally to help the folks in Houston.

2) Dean Dinners.

3) Pizza and brownies with friends.

4) Surprise mail and James Marshall buttons.

5) Pie.

6) I’m traveling to Boston this week (for work) and …

7) … I’m going to meet author-illustrator Claire Nivola. (Bucket-list item for me.)

What are YOUR kicks this week?

8 comments to “7-Imp’s 7 Kicks #550: Featuring Mehrdokht Amini”

  1. Thank you for this book gift. We need more of these books in the world right now.
    Jules, so mysterious, what kind of pie? And a bit jelly, I want to go to Boston.
    My kicks:
    1. My friends in Texas surviving the storm and helping others.
    2. Dahlias in early morning light.
    3. Wandering yesterday with Chuck.
    4. Reading Small Great Things by Picoult.
    5. School and happy kid faces.
    6. The promise a re school year brings.
    7. Book club tonight.

  2. Jone, my girls made a chocolate silk pie. What book are you reading for book club? Hello to Chuck!

  3. Good morning, Imps! Sending support to everyone who needs it.

    Hello, Mehrdokht! I love this line: “I speak Spanish, Arabic, and dreams.”

    Jules: Have a safe and fun trip!

    Jone: Very glad to hear that your friends are safe.

    My kicks from the past week:
    1) Rising above
    2) Conclusions
    3) Beginnings
    4) Conversations
    5) Preparations
    6) Laughter
    7) Safety

  4. Little Willow, I like the flow of those kicks, and I’m raising my coffee mug to you and rising above.

  5. Beautiful illustrations and beautiful prose – thank you for sharing such a gorgeous love letter of a book.

    Jules – hooray for pizza and brownies with friends, surprise mail and chocolate silk pie. Have fun in Boston!

    Jone – love your photos of the dahlias, glad your friends are ok, yay for weekend wanders, and the fresh start of a new school year.

    LW – love the transition from Conclusions to Beginnings, and Rising Above and Laughter are wonderful kicks!

    My kicks this week:
    1) Watching all the good people in this country jumping in to help the people of Houston, some standouts for me being JJ Watt and his fundraising and distributing aid directly, as well as all the folks in animal rescue stepping up, like Best Friends and Miranda Lambert and her Muttnation Foundation as well as many others.
    2) Great result for a client this week. Always a kick.
    3) Read “Moo” by Sharon Creech, very fun book and now on the list for a present for a young friend.
    4) Thorns game yesterday! Another win before the playoffs! Plus I got an autograph from Allie Long.
    5) Walking around downtown and over bridges on my way home after the game. Beautiful day to soak up the city and take photos.
    6) Sunday morning yoga.
    7) Netflixing the old tv series “Charmed” as my comfort viewing. Fun to see the fashions of the 90’s again.
    7.5) Daisy beaming after being praised for cooperating while I buffed/sanded her nails. She’s a good velvet hippo, and awful cute too.

    Have a wonderful weekend Imps!

  6. Rachel, one of many things I like about you is that you work nowhere in the field of children’s lit or librarianship, yet you read children’s lit titles. Woo hoo!

    Yay Daisy!

  7. Thanks Jules! A good story is a good story, no matter who its intended audience is. And yes, yay Daisy, always. 🙂

  8. LW: Rising above is so important these days. So is laughter.
    Rachel: It’s been great weather for walking, hasn’t it? Last night the crickets were joyous.
    Jules: We were discussing which books for the year last night.

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