Cover Image: Lion on the Inside

Lion on the Inside

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The message of this book is to stay true to yourself. I love the story of the girl wearing her hijab when she plays basketball. Not only would this book be relatable for many kids, but it could also help develop understanding to those who are not aware of the culture.

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This is an inspirational story of Bilquis-Abdul Quaadir, an activist who raised awareness around hijab discrimination in basketball. She was forced to walk away from a professional career to stay true to her beliefs but did not give up and contributed to make changes in a very entrenched institution. The book is written in accessible language for children and communicates powerfully how to be a changemaker even if you have to face severe setbacks.

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This is the true story about the first woman to play in the NCAA with a hijab. This book starts from her girlhood and how she always plays ball up to her college career and even trying to turn pro. But the pros had denied her because of the hijab. She fought to get the rules changed, and she won. This is an interesting book. The author chooses a strange way of telling the story. It has a unique rhythm and wordplay that is not normally seen in a picture book. This isn’t bad it’s just odd. It was an interesting look at a real person who is making change not just for themselves but for other girls as well.

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I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and all opinions expressed are entirely my own.

This is an inspirational illustrated children's books about Bilquis Abdui-Qaadir Qisi a basketball player The book tells the story of how she started playing basketball and she joins the varsity team where she is told that she cannot wear her hijab. This is an inspirational story about staying true to yourself, your beliefs and your dreams, Wonderfully illustrated , wonderfully told and inspiring, Read it!

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I did not know about Bilqis Abdul=Qaadir before I read this well-written autobiographical account of her battles to wear her hijab as she played basketball. While I'm not Muslim, as a Christian I appreciate any book that presents standing up for faith beliefs in a positive light. I think this would be a great read aloud and discussion starter to help students to talk about how people live out their religious faith and how they can help make space for that. One of my favorite pages in the book is when Bilqis' high school teammates stand with her and refuse to play if she isn't allowed to play with her hijab. Such a great example of teens supporting freedom of religion. The graphics are o.k. but not amazing.
Review based on an eARC received from the publisher.

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Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir started playing basketball at age three. By seventeen, she was the star player on her school’s varsity team. When a referee refused to allow her to play while wearing a hijab, her teammates supported her until the referee relented. She wasn't so lucky on the professional international court. Thankfully, Bilqis lobbied for a rule change. Today, she continues to advocate for Muslim athletes.
I had never heard of Bilqis before reading this book. Although the target audience is children aged 5-8, I enjoyed the story. And the "Let's Talk" section at the end is perfect for all ages. I also appreciate mindful insights like "Let them talk. You play ball. Pick your battles."
The illustrations by Katherine Ahmed tied in well to the narrative and feature crisp lines and bright colors.
My only complaint is how short this book is. I wanted more! The bibliography at the end of the book solves this challenge and provides more resources for me to enjoy.

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It's quite an accomplishment to tell a complete story in 40-ish pages, especially when it's an important story. In this slender picture book, the author/subject, coauthor, and illustrator show what one can achieve with effort, dedication, and strong familial and team support. I especially liked the discussion questions and the brief overview following the illustrated story. There are additional sources provided for those who want to learn more about Abdul-Qaadir's story.

I am thrilled to have discovered this book collection encouraging young readers to become caring, thoughtful, and engaged global citizens. It's never too soon to build social consciousness and civic responsibility.

Thank you, NetGalley and Kids Can Press, for the e-ARC of the book in exchange for an honest review. Publication is expected September 5.

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Thank you so much Netgalley and Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir for the ARC!

Do I love this book? - I do. A LOT. I'm a Muslim living in an Islamic country and yet I am terrified of wearing hijab though I really want to. People aren't merciful with their comments. I wonder how they would react if I can't maintain it properly, if I struggle in heat. Bilqis's story gave me so much courage! She is truly an icon for Muslim girls all around the world. Sacrificing one of her biggest dreams to change the year-old, outdated laws, she paved the path for new generations. If it's hard for me now, I can't begin to imagine how hard it was for her then. Her story represents bravery, authenticity and resilience through and through. Highly Recommended!

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This biography is intended for audience of 5-8 years old and brings an inspiring character.

Bilquis Abdui-Qaadir, Qisi for short, from young age plays basketball with her two brothers. Her mother and grandmother are their greatest cheerleaders. In High School, she joins the basketball team. At playoffs, while on varsity team, she is told that she can’t wear hijab, which she’s been wearing since she was twelve. She could play without hijab, but then she wouldn’t be who she truly was and felt at heart.

Qisi is fierce and kind. She was told to pick her battles and that’s what she does. She stands by what she believes in. She starts making history as the all-time lead scorer in Massachusetts State and the first woman to play in a hijab in the NCAA.

She was forced to make a decision between her faith and the sport she loved. The rules didn’t let her play as professional player, but as an advocate she made it possible for other Muslim girls.

This is a powerful and inspiring story for children and all to be smart about the battles you pick and fight for. It has to have a meaning. It is told with clear voice and touching words, accompanied by wonderful illustrations.

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This picture book biography is about Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, a Muslim basketball player who faced discrimination because she would not take off her hijab on the court. The book shows how even though high school refs were willing to accommodate her, the challenges she faced later were so severe that she retired from professional basketball and worked as an advocate to overturn discriminatory polices.

Abdul-Qaadir wrote this book herself, and the text has a good sense of rhythm and doesn't feel too preachy. She conveys her commitment to her faith, her love for the sport, and her passion to work for change, and this book will inspire kids who have faced similar discrimination. This is also great for people looking for stories about girls in sports.

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This is a perfect biography that will engage my students. Bilqis demonstrates being true to one’s self and having a passion for something. This will be added to my classroom library.

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Lion on the Inside is the true story of basketball great, Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir, and her struggle with the system that discriminated against Muslim women by not allowing them to play wearing their hijabs during games.

The first time she is told she can't play with it on, her high school teammates stand behind her, and the refs eventually let her play. Score for Qisi! But when she gets to the international professional level, the rules don't allow her to play. She needs to choose between basketball and being true to herself and her faith. She picks herself and her faith, and in doing so, loses her chance to play ball professionally.

But as her grandmother taught her: Pick your battles. Instead of compromising her values to play ball, she picked a different battle. To fight for the right of all Muslim girls to wear their hijab while playing ball. She became an activist and got the rule changed! Now all girls can play ball, thanks to Qisi.

This story is heartbreaking, but also super inspirational. Qisi should never have needed to choose between her faith and her dream, but she did. In staying true to herself and standing up for what she believes in, she made it possible for other girls to accomplish similar dreams. What a powerful and inspirational story.

Our kids need to hear stories like these. They need to know to fight the right battles. To stand up for themselves. To fight for a better world. These stories should be read to every child. The world would be a better place! ❤️❤️❤️

Thanks Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to review this eARC in exchange for my honest review on the book!

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I have heard of the rule, before, that basketball players could not wear hijab in professional basketball. This picture book is about the woman who challenged this rule, and made it so women could wear the hijab. By forming her group, and pushing for the rule to change, she spend the time doing that, rather than doing what she loved, which is to play basketball.

But, because she knew which fights to fight, she was able to pave the way for the women that would come after her.

This picture book gives a very simplified version of what happened to her, and how she was born to play basketball. Great illustrations. Simple, easy to follow story. Plus there is a page at that end, that gives the complete story.

Great introduction, in simple terms to her life.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review. Lion on the Inside will be published on the 5th of September 2023.

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I received an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own!

This is the story of Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir the first women to wear a hijab in a NCAA basketball game. She is so much more than that though. She has stood her ground and change the world for future girls who want to wear their hijab anywhere. This tells her life story so far. I really enjoyed this one. I loved this book! As a basketball player myself I enjoyed reading a unique story about a basketball player for children. I do not feel like there are enough books about sports for young children. I would recommend this to anyone who has a elementary school student who is learning to read and likes sports. The representation is so needed.

I also really like that there are questions for further discussion in the back.

Read if you enjoy:
Learning Cultures
Standing for what you believe
Accepting others
Children books

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