I sat at my kitchen table on a Wednesday morning, waiting to see how many of my students would logon for morning meeting. An experience we’ve become used to in these times…I reviewed my plan for the morning, a kindergarten morning meeting run from my kitchen…yet another experience we’ve become used to. Today’s read aloud is “What Color is My Hijab?” by Hudda Ibrahim. I am excited because of the language choice showing that women wearing hijabs are just as strong as capable as anyone else. I waited for a Wednesday morning to share this books because many of my Muslim families join their children for my morning meeting and I wanted them to hear the important message of this book as well. When the time comes, and children begin logging in, it turns out four of my boys are all who logon, and for a second I question my book choice.
I make a split second decision, as educators do constantly in their day, that this book was that much more important to share even though my audience was nothing I was expecting it to be. My boys were quiet at first, listening. Then they began commenting on the colors, naming how the colors represent similar things in their lives.
After the story, my boys and I identified the importance of the colors, their favorite colors, and what they’d like to be when they grow up.
This book is normal to them. My boys were not shocked when I was reading them a book that featured women with hijabs. It wasn’t the first they’d seen this year. It won’t be the last. This is the purpose of the work we do. We want to normalize all kinds of people. We want our kids to easily interchange any person into any job type without stereotyping and profiling that person first.
I’m constantly working on my own ability to do this, but thanks to the hard work of so many people in our education world, I am learning how to support my kindergarteners so they can learn to think with less bias and stereotype.