5+ Disabled Muslim Children Books {Resource}

This list of books with disabled Muslim children was created to celebrate the Palestinian American Maysoon Zayid’s upcoming Seattle comedy show.

Maysoon Zayid is a Muslim from New Jersey with cerebral palsy. She is an actress, comedian and activist. Her TED Talk, “I Got 99 Problems, Palsy Is Just One” (2014) is one of the most-watched TED Talks ever.

Zayid tries to spend three months a year in the Palestinian territories, running an arts program, Maysoon’s Kids, for disabled and orphaned children in refugee camps. She helps the children use art to deal with trauma and bridge the gap between disabled and non-disabled children. Eighty percent of the funding for the camps comes from her comedy work.

When I met Maysoon in 2006, I was producing the Seattle Arab Festival and had brought her, along with Ahmed Ahmed, Aron Kader, and Dean Obeidallah, for a comedy show. It was the first time that I had heard of an organization working specifically with disabled kids in the Arab world and immediately sent her art supplies to use. She has seen been to Seattle other times & it is always a great night out to see her perform.

Because of Maysoon, I’ve become much more aware of stocking my book shelves with books for my children that feature disabled Muslim protagonist or were written by Muslim authors who write about disability. I wanted to share a few below.

I took some children books from Arab World Children Books {Resource}, but have expanded on it to include newly published books.

I am an Amazon affiliate member, so clicking on these titles will give you the ability to purchase them.

Feel free to buy any of these books here to stock your books with multicultural children literature and shukran (Arabic for thank you) for continuing to support my educational blog.


Abdullah, Shaila M. A Manual for Marco: Living, Learning, and Laughing With an Autistic Sibling.

An 8-year old girl decides to make a list of all the things she likes and dislikes about dealing with her autistic brother, and in doing so realizes that she has created A Manual for Marco.

Abdullah, Shaila M. My Friend Suhana: A Story of Friendship and Cerebral Palsy

Award-winning author and designer Shaila Abdullah teams up with her 10-year-old daughter Aanyah to bring you this heartwarming tale of a little girl who forms a close bond with a child with cerebral palsy. The girl finds that through her art, she can reach her special friend Suhana.

Farag, Shama I’m Different..I’m Special!      

Inspired by all the differences that I have learned, I wrote this book. I believe we are different in a way or another, we are all different in someone’s eyes. So, we have to work on our inclusivity, coexistence, and acceptance for others. We can’t add up to someone personal struggles, we can’t make people battle because of the way they look, their skin color, their curly hair, their mental abilities, where they came from or the faith they believe. Why? because this is humanity and life and how it works.

Jamila Alqarnain & Karimah Alhark Hind’s Hands: A Story about Autism

From bestselling author and educator Umm Juwayriyah — a story told by a big sister who learns coping skills to befriend and lead her autistic younger sister. “You see, my sister Hind has Autism. And I know that sounds like a really big word, but it’s not. Autism just means that Allah made her to learn and act and think differently than other kids her age.” In the story Hind’s Hands, big sister Juwayriyah learns just how special her younger sister is, despite the challenging behaviors that she often has to deal with. Author Umm Juwayriyah collaborates with her oldest daughter, Juwayriyah Ayed on this book to help spread awareness about Autism.                                  

Khan, Rukhsana. King for a Day.

Basant is here, with feasts and parties to celebrate the arrival of spring. But what Malik is looking forward to most is doing battle from his rooftop with Falcon, the special kite he has built for speed. Today is Malik s chance to be the best kite fighter, the king of Basant. In two fierce battles, Malik takes down the kites flown by the bully next door. Then Malik moves on, guiding Falcon into leaps, swirls, and dives, slashing strings and plucking kites from the sky. By the end of the day, Malik has a big pile of captured kites. He is the king! But then the bully reappears, trying to take a kite from a girl in the alley below. With a sudden act of kingly generosity, Malik finds the perfect way to help the girl. This lively, contemporary story introduces readers to a centuries-old festival and the traditional sport of kite fighting, and to a spirited, determined young boy who masters the sport while finding his own way to face and overcome life s challenges.                        

Mustafa, Nujeen. Girl from Aleppo: Nujeen’s Escape from War to Freedom.

Nujeen’s charming and authentic voice shines from page one of this story about a sixteen-year-old girl with cerebral palsy forced to flee Aleppo during the civil war. There are many books that chronicle the experience of Syrian refugees, but Nujeen faces special challenges as her sister pushes her wheelchair from Turkey to Germany, crossing the Mediterranean and finding both help and horror along the way. Nujeen is smart, funny, and relatable, and readers will enjoy her fresh perspective.                                               

Sharafeddine, Fatima  & Samar Mahfouz Barraj. “Stories By Us and About Us” A Book From 12 Students with Learning Disabilities

This unique book has been chosen to be on the outstanding list of books for young people with disabilities by IBBY . It is the product of an artistic and expression workshop for 12 students with Learning disabilities from Step together Association. Each student narrated and illustrated his story with the help of professionals. Topics vary from academic struggles, to social issues and even dreams. It is also Dyslexia Friendly in order to make it accessible to slow readers.

Honorary Adult Book Mention:

Ben Zahra, Saloua Ali      Arab Islamic Voices, Agencies, and Abilities: Disability Portrayals in Muslim World Literature and Culture.

This book explores portrayals and predicaments of the disabled in Arab/Muslim post colonial North African and Middle Eastern societies in genres ranging from classical Arabic scripture to secular popular culture including Francophone Moroccan and Algerian fiction, Egyptian Middle Eastern film, as well as Tunisian song and television. In line with theorists Aijaz Ahmad and Ato Quayson’s objection to reading Third World literature as “national allegory,” The author argues that rather than being metaphors or allegories, disabled characters represent persons with disabilities in their culture and act as a mirror upon their changing societies. Contemporary Maghrebians and Muslims with disabilities find themselves at an intersection of conflicting and competing cultures, their native Islamic culture and Westernizing lifestyles. In the rush to import everything Western, despite humanitarian Islamic teachings regarding the disabled, are often abandoned. In situations of fundamentalist menace, the disabled, who tend to be the most vulnerable and abused fraction of Arab/Muslim society, suffer the worst, especially women.


To see more book lists, please stop by these Arab world & Muslim culture resources.

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I am a Libyan American who creates art to promote a positive image of Arab and Islamic culture.