South-Asian Reading Challenge || May 2020 Theme ‘Dua’ and Books Of The Month + Collaboration With Ramadan Readathon

The world is going through a tough time and we understand everyone is trying to find the light in the midst of this pandemic. Fortunately, Ramadan is here to calm us down and attain some form of peace during the chaos. Considering the immense importance of this month, especially for our Muslim readers, and with May being all about the Asian Heritage, we have decided to focus on what is a large part of any South-Asian identity: spirituality.

The word ‘Dua’ is derived from Arabic, which means ‘invocation’ or ‘summon.’ We chose this theme in celebration of Ramadan that is taking place, roughly from April 23rd to May 23rd, 2020. To us, ‘Dua’ evokes both individual and collective spirituality, re-centering, and hope. The pandemic has significantly impacted Muslim communities around the world. We wanted to further create community around the globe and take time to promote some exciting South Asian-Muslim titles this month, that cover a range of experiences.


Title: The Henna Wars
Author: Adiba Jaigirdar
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Publishing Date: May 12, 2020

Synopsis: When Dimple Met Rishi meets Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda in this rom com about two teen girls with rival henna businesses.

When Nishat comes out to her parents, they say she can be anyone she wants—as long as she isn’t herself. Because Muslim girls aren’t lesbians. Nishat doesn’t want to hide who she is, but she also doesn’t want to lose her relationship with her family. And her life only gets harder once a childhood friend walks back into her life.

Flávia is beautiful and charismatic and Nishat falls for her instantly. But when a school competition invites students to create their own businesses, both Flávia and Nishat choose to do henna, even though Flávia is appropriating Nishat’s culture. Amidst sabotage and school stress, their lives get more tangled—but Nishat can’t quite get rid of her crush on Flávia, and realizes there might be more to her than she realized. 


🎉 Review: The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar — The Nerd Daily
🎉 Cover Reveal And Excerpt: The Henna Wars By Adiba Jaigirdar — Book Riot
🎉 The Henna Wars  — Kirkus Review

Why We Chose this Book

Two henna businesses? A rivalry? An f/f romance? Set in Ireland? We are so excited to read this book and see how Adiba Jaigirdar uplifts identities, creates awareness, and explores cultural specificity, all in between this heart-leaping, rival-to-lover teen romance.


Title: Love from A to Z
Author: S. K. Ali
Publisher: Salaam Reads
Publishing Date: April 30, 2019

Synopsis: A marvel: something you find amazing. Even ordinary-amazing. Like potatoes—because they make French fries happen. Like the perfect fries Adam and his mom used to make together. An oddity: whatever gives you pause. Like the fact that there are hateful people in the world. Like Zayneb’s teacher, who won’t stop reminding the class how “bad” Muslims are.

But Zayneb, the only Muslim in class, isn’t bad. She’s angry. When she gets suspended for confronting her teacher, and he begins investigating her activist friends, Zayneb heads to her aunt’s house in Doha, Qatar, for an early start to spring break.Fueled by the guilt of getting her friends in trouble, she resolves to try out a newer, “nicer” version of herself in a place where no one knows her.Then her path crosses with Adam’s.

Since he got diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in November, Adam’s stopped going to classes, intent, instead, on perfecting the making of things. Intent on keeping the memory of his mom alive for his little sister. Adam’s also intent on keeping his diagnosis a secret from his grieving father.Alone, Adam and Zayneb are playing roles for others, keeping their real thoughts locked away in their journals. Until a marvel and an oddity occurs…

Marvel: Adam and Zayneb meeting. Oddity: Adam and Zayneb meeting. 


🎉 International Children’s Book Day: Books by Muslim authors every child should be reading — The New Arab
🎉 Book Review: Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali — The Young Folks
🎉 ‘Love From A To Z’ By S.K. Ali Is A Spring Break Romance That Tackles Big Issues — Start Reading Now — Bustle


If you talk to almost anyone on Muslim Book Twitter™, you know that this is an instant favorite. S.K. Ali fuses Muslim spirituality, global identities, political awareness, and chronic illness to capture a budding connection between 2 multi-racial Muslim teens. We hope you rave about the ‘marvels & oddities’ in this book, too.

We are so excited to announce a collaboration between Ramadan Readathon (RR) and South Asian Reading Challenge (SARC) from April 23rd to the end of May! This collab is focused on centering South Asian-Muslim books and create more conversation around them during the month of Ramadan. This year, Ramadan Readathon is centered around the short story collection Once Upon An Eid, edited by S.K. Ali and Aisha Saeed, with 15 incredible stories by Muslim writers. RR has chosen words to go with each story, that correspond with every other day in Ramadan. SARC & RR are focusing our efforts on the first day of Ramadan (4/23) and the word ‘culture!’ Read an amazing Q/A exchanged between Rumaanah & Samia from SARC and Nadia from Ramadan Readathon now.



5 thoughts on “South-Asian Reading Challenge || May 2020 Theme ‘Dua’ and Books Of The Month + Collaboration With Ramadan Readathon

  1. Pingback: April 2020 Wrap-Up: The Exponential Growth Phase - Novels and Nebulas

  2. Pingback: WWW Wednesday // 27th May 2020 – the wordy habitat

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