Under My Hijab

by Hena Khan Illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel

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Hena Khan has delivered another wonderful book that validates and affirms the realities and experiences of Muslims. In Under My Hijab, Khan illuminates the beauty and diversity of Muslim women. A young Muslim American girl introduces readers to the many amazing women in her life who each wears her hijab in public in a way that expresses her individuality. At home they uncover their heads and we see more expressions of who each woman is as a person, and a woman of faith. This book is important and timely as a means to help educate a generation of people who can challenge the bias, stereotypes and misinformation that are running rampant in the world.

Genre - realistic fiction
Text Structure - picture book
Themes - celebrating and honoring Muslim American women, having role models, understanding the hijab, exploring the lives of contemporary Muslim-American women, family and friend relationships

Why It’s Culturally Authentic

  • It validates and affirms the lives and diversity of Muslim American women by showing that they are not a monolith.

  • The text and illustrations challenge stereotypes and mis-information about Muslim Americans

  • The clear, matter of fact, text and illustrations validate and affirm Muslim-American women as well as and builds and bridges to understanding for those not of the Muslim faith.

  • It shows contemporary Muslim American women doing everyday things that all children (and adults) can connect to/relate to.

  • The illustrations show that every shade/race of people is represented in Islam, challenging misinformation and stereotypes.

  • The author’s note “About the Hijab” clearly explains the purpose of and beliefs about wearing Hijab.

  • Several Rings of Culture and Iceberg of Culture elements are represented in the text.

Ideas for CLR

Set it Off (Into the Text)

Responsive Vocabulary - Context Clue Slides + Back to Back + Personal Dictionary

  • Muslim

  • Hijab

Context Clue Slides -

  • Prepare 1 slide for each word that has an image and a sentence clear enough to provide context for students. (If you have students in your room who wear hijab, it might be a great idea to use them in the picture for).

  • Read the sentence aloud twice, once with a Teacher Read and once with a Choral Read.

  • While showing the slide use the Back to Back protocol to have students share 1) a connection with the word 2) their own definition/explanation of the word.

  • Next, have students use a Moment of Silence to complete their Personal Dictionary entry.

Personal Dictionary-

  • Students work independently to complete a Personal Dictionary entry for each word.

Pre-Reading Ideas

  • Picture Walk - Do a picture walk with students of the Cover, Title Page and Copyright page.

    • Walk and Talk + Somebody Who- Walk and Talk is just like Turn and Talk except students stand up, find a partner and walk the perimeter of the room discussing their responses to questions.

      • Walk and Talk Prompts -

        • What are things that people do to show their faith in God/a higher power?


        • What are things that people do to show what is important to them/what they believe in?

The Get Down (Through the Text)

Teacher Read Aloud + 3 Things + Musical Shares

  • Read the story aloud to the students. Before reading, tell them to listen for and think about 3 things , while you read.

  • You can ask students to think of a variety of things for the “3 things” literacy activity. Character info, theme, conflict, main idea, or more generic things “something surprising”, “a question”, “a connection”.


3 Things Prompts -
- One thing you learned about Muslim American women
- The hijab you like best
- A question you would ask the author

  • After reading, repeat the prompts and give students a few moments to think about their answers and/or write them down.

  • Use Musical Shares to have students share their answers, and Pick a Stick or another response protocol to have several students share out their answers.

What ideas do you have for VABBing ‘beyond the text’?