Top 10: Muslim-Canadian Reads

July 7, 2022 by Tahmina Afshar

Eid al-Adha Mubarak to everyone celebrating it this weekend! This week, we picked out some titles by our publishers that cover many issues and dilemmas faced by Muslim-Canadians. The characters in these books are relatable, immigrating to a new country and leaving what they know behind, while struggling to hold onto Islam in a new, Westernized society.

See more details below

The cover of Accretion by Irfan Ali. A dizzying series of black and white lines bisect red and yellow circles.

1. Accretion by Irfan Ali (Brick Books)

Some of you may have heard about the love story of Layla and Majnun, as told in literature in many different ways. Irfan Ali’s Accretion is a new retelling of an immigrant family adjusting to new conditions while maintaining their faith.


The cover of Meena's Story, showing a young woman wearing a hijab looks off to the right.

2. Meena’s Story by Swapna Gupta (Bayeux Arts)

Swapna Gupta’s Meena’s Story is set around true events, going back as far as 80 years. It is a heartbreaking story of an interracial couple falling in love and facing many challenges in their joint life together. Gupta presents the difficulties of being an immigrant, facing rejection and loss, and the trauma that these events result in.


The cover of Pistachios in My Pocket: a mixed-media art piece showing a sombre woman looking off, and a smaller child with their back to the viewer. Trees and buildings are in the background, which is hazy and indistinct.

3. Pistachios in My Pocket by Sareh Farmand (At Bay Press)

This upcoming poetry collection discusses Sareh Farmand’s experience escaping Iran at the start of the Islamic Revolution. She details her journey as an immigrant without a home and finally landing in Canada. Through her poems and prose, Farmand highlights themes of migration and belonging, and the struggles many immigrants face in losing a home.


The cover of Dusk in the Frog Pond. The title is set amid a pretty paisley pattern, appearing to have been painted with watercolours.

4. Dusk in the Frog Pond by Rummana Chowdhury (Inanna Publications) 

Dusk in the Frog Pond is a collection of eight powerful stories that follow the lives of Muslim women in Bangladesh, Toronto and New York. Rummana Chowdhury discusses issues many Muslim women face as they leave their home countries to start new lives elsewhere.


The cover for Ballet is Not for Muslim Girls. A young girl stares at the viewer, her hand anchored on a wooden chair.

5. Ballet is Not for Muslim Girls by Mariam S. Pal (Renaissance Press)

The fundamental issues covered in Ballet is Not for Muslim Girls will appeal to a lot of different readers, regardless of their origin. Pal talks about the struggle of wanting to be a Canadian girl, as someone with a Pakistani father and Polish-Canadian mother. Through her experience, she brings to light the experiences of many children with immigrant parents, and describes their struggles with identity and wanting to belong.


The cover for Under a Kabul Sky. A painting done in large, indistinct daubs of a woman wearing a headscarf, standing in front of an arched tunnel.

6. Under A Kabul Sky translated by Elaine Kennedy (Inanna Publications)

Under a Kabul Sky is a collection of 12 short stories told by Afghan women that first appeared in France. This edition is brought to English speakers for the first time, allowing the voices of these women to be heard by more people.


The cover for The Youth of God. The title is emblazoned in white, expressive printing over a black background/

7. The Youth of God by Hassan Ghedi Santur (Mawenzi House) 

The Youth of God is another enlightening read, following the journey of Nuur, a 17-year-old growing up in Toronto’s Somali neighbourhood, as he works on balancing his faith and intellectual ambitions. This novel is a powerful story of the struggle of maintaining faith in modern times.


The cover of Home of the Floating Lily. A black, textured background stands in contrast to a vibrant, lotus-shaped graphic. Each petal of the flower showcases a different, vibrant pattern.

8. Home of the Floating Lily by Silmy Abdullah (Dundurn Press) 

Home of the Floating Lily is set in Canada and Bangladesh, and it contains eight stories about the hardships that migration, diaspora, and the love and conflict between friends and family can bring to bear on the lives of everyday people. These are stories of immigrants leaving their home country to build new lives for themselves while battling loneliness and struggling to belong.


The cover for The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth.

9. The Muslimah Who Fell to Earth: Personal Stories by Canadian Muslim Women edited by Saima S. Hussain (Mawenzi House)

This is a collection of twenty-one personal stories told by women from many different backgrounds, united by Islam and their nationalities. These women share what it means for them to be a Muslim woman, or a “Muslimah” as they discuss challenging conventions and stereotypes.


The cover of The Shaytan Bride. A woman in a white dress lays in a bed, eyes closed, while a djinn or imp-like figure crouches on her stomach, snarling over her.

10. The Shaytan Bride by Sumaiya Matin (Dundurn Press) 

The Shaytan Bride is a coming-of-age story of a girl traversing through desire and faith. It is a true story of how Sumaiya moved from Bangladesh to Canada, and made the trip back for her forced wedding. Through her experience, she learns to differentiate between destiny and free will.



For more Top 10, click here.


comments powered by Disqus