Starred Reviews for Mommy's Khimar

Have you heard the wonderful news about Mommy's Khimar?  It's got some excellent reviews from Publisher's Weekly, Kirkus, and Booklist!

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Publisher's Weekly

"Mommy, an African-American Muslim woman, has a closet full of the beautiful flowing headscarves called khimars (another character refers to them as hijabs later in the story). Her imaginative daughter’s favorite khimar is bright yellow, and readers follow along as the young narrator wears it in daylong dress-up play. Enveloped in the scents of coconut oil, cocoa butter, and cinnamon that linger in the khimar, the girl feels protected, loved, and bigger than life. At her mosque, she is welcomed into the world of pious women, as her mother’s friends greet her with, “Assalamu alaikum, Little Sis!” The yellow khimar is also emblematic of the unconditional love within the girl’s extended family: when her grandmother stops by after church (“She doesn’t go to the mosque like Mommy and Daddy do”), she greets the girl with a bright smile and open arms, calling her “Sunshine.” Debut author Thompkins-Bigelow’s lyrical text and Glenn’s lighthearted Disney-style pictures are similarly sunny. Rather than offer an exegesis of the khimar or a plea for acceptance and understanding, they allow their heroine’s carefree confidence to speak for itself. " 


Kirkus Reviews

"From a debut author-and-illustrator team comes a glimpse into a young American Muslim girl's family and community as she walks around in "Mommy's khimar," or headscarf.The star of this sunny picture book is a young girl who finds joy in wearing her mother's khimar, imagining it transforms her into a queen, a star, a mama bird, a superhero. At the core of the story is the love between the girl and her mother. The family appears to be African-American, with brown skin and textured hair. The girl's braids and twists "form a bumpy crown" under the khimar, which smells of coconut oil and cocoa butter. Adults in her life delight in her appearance in the bright yellow khimar, including her Arabic teacher at the mosque, who calls it a "hijab," and her grandmother, who visits after Sunday service and calls out "Sweet Jesus!" as she scoops her granddaughter into her arms. Her grandmother is, apparently, a Christian, but "We are a family and we love each other just the same." The illustrations feature soft pastel colors with dynamic lines and gently patterned backgrounds that complement the story's joyful tone. The words are often lyrical, and the story artfully includes many cultural details that will delight readers who share the cheerful protagonist's culture and enlighten readers who don't. With a universal message of love and community, this book offers a beautiful representation of a too-often-overlooked cultural group. (Picture book. 4-8)" 


Booklist

"In this ebullient picture book, readers come to share in the delight a little girl takes in wearing her mother’s khimar—another term for hijab. For the girl, her mother’s rainbow collection of beautiful khimars is a source of wonder, power, and intimacy, much like any mother’s closet of pretty things might be for a young child. Her favorite one is yellow, and she wears it like a superhero wears her cape, imagining herself shining like the sun and shooting through the sky like a star. She recognizes her mother’s fragrances—coconut oil and cocoa butter—which ensure the security of her mother’s presence even in her absence. This affirming book will be a welcome mirror for Muslim and interfaith families, and a necessary counter to the Islamophobic discourse that fills the current airwaves. The illustrations are as lively and brightly colored as the khimars themselves, and smiling faces of friends and family members echo the warm message of the text.” 


Such great news to start the month with, and I couldn't be more grateful.  Now I only hope Mommy's Khimar continues to receive praise from our little readers. :)

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2018! Today's my one year anniversary of being a self-employed illustrator, and I couldn't be more proud of it.

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A year ago today I quit my day job and began my full-time career as an illustrator, and it's been a thrilling adventure ever since.  Yes, I've had some ups and downs along the way but I'm so grateful to do what I love everyday (and I even get to work in my pajamas!)  

And finally I can share with you what kept me so busy in 2017!  Like the cute, little girl above who I illustrated for the children's book, Mommy's Khimar, written by the talented Jamilah Tompkins-Bigelow.  In a few months you'll be seeing her again in book stores!

I can't wait to share more projects with you soon, but all good things come in due time, right? So here's to a wonderful, prosperous, and exciting new year!

 

Halloween '17!

It's almost Halloween '17 and I've got a few magic tricks up my sleeve!

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Like this cool, little GIF I made for the spookiest time of the year.   And, hopefully, more illustrations to share on social media and this site. 

I may not have a lot of free time nowadays to make some personal artwork but I did manage to work this one into my busy schedule.  I couldn't miss out on another holiday, heck, I've already missed so many!  So I'll just give myself a pat on the back for squeezing this one in. 

Happy Halloween!

Goodbye Spring

Goodbye Spring, and hello Summer!

Wow it's Summer already, can you believe it? Time to bring out the swimsuits, lemonade, and shark fins.  Oh, and here's a little illustration to start your Summer season. 

Happy Summer Solstice!

Color Me a Kidlit 'Illustrator'

So a few weeks ago I got to be featured on the writer, Dionna Mann's, 'Color Me a Kidlit Writer' blog! She's a talented freelance journalist and an avid kidlit enthusiast like myself. :) You can check out her website and our interview here!

I've also been preoccupied finishing up some projects so I don't have a lot of new artwork to share but here's a little warm up sketch I've made this week. :) I hope you enjoy it and if you're feeling feisty, please leave a comment on Dionne's blog.  We'd love to know what you think!