When we embrace social justice, we honor differences while also celebrating our similarities. In Meet Yasmin! by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly, readers can do both. Meet Yasmin! fits between early readers and short chapter books in a category that includes books such as Charlie and Mouse by Laurel Snyder and Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan. These books have generous illustrations with limited text, but include chapters to introduce this new feature to young readers. In Meet Yasmin! readers are also introduced to a new character in children’s literature who reflects the culture and experiences of two of her identity groups : Pakistani and American.
Yasmin loves to explore, dress up, and be creative. She goes to the park with her mom, who wears a hijab when she is not at home. She stays home with her grandmother and grandfather, Nani and Nana, when her parents go out for date night. Yasmin experiences joy, frustration, worry, and relief, just like every second grader. Readers just get the added reward of learning a few words of Urdu and gaining knowledge of a specific culture as they read.
This book is perfect for early elementary classroom teachers to suggest to their readers. Hopefully Meet Yasmin! is just the first in a series of books by Faruqi and Aly.
Teaching Tolerance Social Justice Standards:
Identity 1: I know and like who I am and can talk about my family and myself and name some of my group identities.
Diversity 7: I can describe some ways that I am similar to and different from people who share my identities and those who have other identities.
Diversity 10: I find it interesting that groups of people believe different things and live their daily lives in different ways.
RL.3- Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.
RL.6- Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.
RL.7- Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.