Giving Tuesday is here, and we are so excited to partner with Muslim Girls Read
, an initiative dedicated to supporting literacy and bringing Muslim-authored books and ones that feature Muslim characters to urban Islamic schools.
MGR was founded by Umm Juwayriyah
(Maryam Sullivan), an educator who strives to make sure Muslim children receive an education that centers them and their identities as worshippers of Allah (S). Her program, Muslim Girls Read
[MGR], promotes literacy to Muslim children.
Muslim Girls Read program, is based in Massachusetts and provides children in inner-city Islamic schools with Muslim-authored and themed books where they see themselves, learn about their faith and embrace their identities as Muslims.I
In addition to providing books to Islamic schools, MGR offers workshops to Muslim children, parents and educators. They have weekly online ta’leems (learning circles), book clubs and their Global Pen Pals Connect program, all for free.
The initiative was born out of story of loss that came to Umm Juwayriyah's attention: “About seven years ago, when I was living in Kuwait, a young single Muslim mother in Philadelphia suffered a fire in her apartment,” she explains. “She requested books for her eight-year-old daughter because all of their books were lost in the fire. Her daughter loved to read and she had a great collection of books. [From that situation], Muslim Girls Read, Inc came to life, and we donated 25 books to the family.
“It opened our eyes and hearts to the lack of literary resources,” Umm Juwayriyah says, “especially Muslim-authored books, that American Muslims in the inner-city don't have access to.” According to Umm Juwayriyah, the organization has provided books to individual families, libraries and more than 15 Muslim schools in cities like Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Atlanta, Houston and Indianapolis.
Why is it so crucial for Muslim children to see themselves in the books they read? “[It's] important to Muslim children's literacy development and overall education because the representation and culturally relevant and responsive narratives affirm and allow children to relate content to their cultural context,” she says.