“It’s her, it’s her!” the twins exclaim upon seeing the cover of Under My Hijab by Hena Khan. The girls make an instant connection to our helping buddy who wears a hijab. A seemingly simple moment, a real-life connection; but in reality, it was so much more.
Later, after the twins had the book read to them, after all had moved on, I looked over to see Riyal, our helping buddy in our summer program, reading the book. Here she was, a 12 year old girl going into the 7th grade come fall, engrossed in a picture book. That afternoon, I asked her what she thought about the book.
“You know Miss Masse, we didn’t have these books when I was in kindergarten. I don’t remember reading books with girls wearing hijabs in them. I like that this book helps everyone understand hijab and that it’s not a big deal to look different…it’s actually kind of special”
That. That made my heart melt and burst at the same time. Every child should feel seen and important. Every child should feel like they are part of the community they are in. Making sure each child in your class is well represented in the books read and shared is a critical piece of helping all children feel seen, valued, and included.
“I like that she does what everyone else does”
“I like that she can pick a new one everyday”
“Hijabs are pretty, my friend has one”