Mommy’s Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow

“Miss Masse, in Somali, we say ‘Kim-ar’.” Anzal directs as I begin talking about today’s read aloud, Mommy’s Khimar.

Books like this are a part of our culture in my small kindergarten class in semi-rural Maine. What’s amazing about my class is that 11/14 kids speak English as a second language. There are 7 languages represented in my class, and several different countries of origin.

Our language and home experiences aren’t what connect us…our books do. We read books that make us laugh, books that teach us, books that make us think, and books that do it all. We bond over stories. This amazing story brought up students’ questions of curiosity around khimars, their purpose, differences, skin color, discrimination, and kindness.

In today’s world, it is critical for children to see themselves represented in the books (and all media for that matter) that they are exposed to. Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow brings the reality of a young Muslim girl exploring the meaning and beauty behind her mommy’s khimar to life.

We can’t ignore the fact that ignorance and hate hurt people. We can’t fix that for our sweet children. We can, however, teach them how to be accepting and kind, how to stand up for what’s right, and to believe that they matter too.

After bus duty, I came back to find Mabel and Hamdi reading Mommy’s Khimar. I can only imagine what that little kinder was thinking setting this up before leaving for the day…but this teacher got teary eyed at the sight…knowing how much this book meant to that child.

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