Mommy’s Khimar | Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow


Out now from Simon & Schuster; 40 pages

About the Author: “Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, M.S.Ed, is a Philadelphia-based educator and children’s book author. A curriculum writer and former English teacher, she has educated children and teens in traditional and alternative learning settings for 15 years. As an inaugural AMAL fellow with the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC), she developed foundational curricular frameworks for youth and adult anti-racist programming. Her picture books and short stories, which feature young Black and Muslim protagonists, have been recognized as the best in children’s literature by Time Magazine, Read Across America, and NPR. These works  include Mommy’s Khimar, Once Upon an Eid (anthology contributor), and Your Name is a Song, as well as soon-to-be-released books:  Abdul’s Story and Hold Them Close.” (Bio taken from Author’s website)

Find Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow on the following platforms:

About the Illustrator: “Ebony Glenn is an Atlanta based illustrator who enjoys bringing stories to life with whimsical imagery. A passion for the arts, great storytelling, and advocating for more diverse narratives in children’s books, she aims to create illustrations that will foster a love of reading in young readers.  She also loves to create joyful and heartwarming crafts to satisfy her endless need to always make new things.” (Bio taken from Illustrator’s website)

Find Ebony Glenn on the following platforms:

“When I wear Mommy’s khimar, I shine like the sun.”

Children’s book Mommy’s Khimar is a beautifully illustrated, lovingly crafted picture book detailing a young girl’s observations of her mother wearing bright and colorful Islamic headscarves. We follow along as the young girl narrates the different ways she feels more beautiful and stronger while wearing the khimars. From a superhero using the extra fabric as a cape to a queen lit up by a glowing yellow train, we see this character styling and playing in her favorite yellow khimar chosen from the wide variety within her mother’s closet. 

Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow’s descriptive writing is paired with the wonderful art made by Ebony Glenn, showcasing the different patterns and stylings of this mother’s khimars. While this book is intended for younger elementary school children, I found myself dazzled at the beautiful imagery of the young girl imagining all the different ways she can play while wearing her mother’s khimar. The more personal information about this family and their religious community is provided in such a genuinely caring and fun way through the interactions with the women at the mosque who are so proud when the girl wears a khimar to service, to the relationship with the girl’s grandmother who doesn’t wear a khimar because she isn’t a part of their faith but they love her regardless. I learned a lot about the Islamic faith’s interactions with children while reading this book, and it is absolutely a necessity for every young reader’s bookshelf. Mommy’s Khimar is a delightfully educational and wonderfully illustrated book about the unique ways that children interact with adult aspects of religion, and it now has a permanent place on my list of recommendations for readers of all ages and faiths.

PRR Editor and Writer, Kayla Chandler