The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad
Review by Kirstie Stevens
The Proudest Blue follows the journey of two sisters going back to school. Faizah tells the story of her older sister, Asiya's, first-day wearing a hijab at school. Faizah adores her sister and is eager about her first day of wearing a hijab too.
Throughout the day, Faizah sees people teasing and bullying Asiya for her hijab. In these moments, Faizah expresses her thoughts on the hijab: “Asiya’s hijab isn’t a laugh. Asiya’s hijab is like the ocean waving to the sky. It’s always there, strong and friendly.” Asiya and her friends aren't bothered by the bullying, whilst Faizah is angry. She reminds herself of their Mama's reassuring words and finds comfort. The story ends with Faizah reflecting on her close bond with Asiya, bringing a smile to both their faces.
The Proudest Blue reminds readers that family and friends can be strong support systems, and that bullying is never okay. The story creates an understanding of the unique subcultures within our own communities, and that it is okay to be different. It encourages children to see the diversity within their social circles, to eliminate bullying and marginalisation and instead create belonging and connectedness.
This book uses simple language, making it easier to follow for younger ages – it would be suitable right through to age 10/11. I would be happy to read this story to any pre-school or primary school class. I give The Proudest Blue a solid 10/10 for not only a beautiful story, but also wonderful artwork for anyone and everyone to enjoy.
Reviewed by Kirstie Stevens, School Library Assistant