5 Middle Grade and Young Adult Audiobooks With Muslim Girl Protagonists

This list of audiobooks with Muslim girl characters is sponsored by Book Marks: A Reading Tracker.

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In 2019, I challenged myself to read more books by or about Muslim women, and while researching for titles to add to my TBR, I found a wealth of middle grade and young adult novels featuring Muslim girl main characters. These girls are immigrants, activists, break dancers, singers, artists, and book lovers—so many different Muslim girls featured center stage, the heroes of their own stories.

A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi, Narrated by Priya Ayyar

In A Very Large Expanse of Sea, one of the first young adult books I picked up in 2019, Shirin just wants to survive high school as a Muslim girl in post–9/11 America. Most of the other students can’t see beyond Shirin’s headscarf to get to know the girl who loves breakdancing and customizing her clothes. But then one day, a boy looks at Shirin and sees her, who she really is, and they begin to fall in love. I loved Shirin’s snark and sarcasm, and Priya Ayyar’s narration perfectly embodies Shirin’s prickly personality.

Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed, Narrated by Priya Ayyar

In this middle grade tale of modern day slavery, Amal mouths off to the wrong man at the local market and becomes an indentured servant to pay off her father’s debts. A book-loving nerd who dreams of going to college, Amal uses her smarts to survive and help those around her. Amal Unbound gives adults a way to start difficult conversations with the children in their lives about modern slavery and the importance of supporting girls’ education. Once again, Priya Ayyar gives an excellent performance, helping Amal’s character jump off the page.

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga, Narrated by Vaneh Assadourian

Another great conversation starter, Other Words from Home begins with Jude and her mother fleeing Syria to live with Jude’s uncle in the United States. There, Jude must learn a whole new way of life, a new language, and a new concept of what it means to be home. Written in prose poetry, Other Words for Home was one of my favorite reads in 2019 and my first audiobook narrated Vaneh Assadourian, who performs the story so well.

Love from A to Z by S.K. Ali, Narrated by Priya Ayyar and Tim Chiou

In this delightful young adult romance, two Muslim teenagers discover love when they least expect it. Zayneb is a high school senior who has just been suspended from school for standing up to her Islamaphobic teacher. Adam is a college Freshman who has just been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Together they discover how many marvels life holds for them as they grow deeper in love and stronger in their faith. Priya Ayyar and Tim Chiou wonderfully narrate Zayneb’s and Adam’s alternating perspectives, emphasizing each character’s unique narrative voice.

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan, Narrated by Soneela Nankani

A few weeks ago, I shared some of my favorite audiobooks narrated by Soneela Nankani, one of my favorite narrators. Here’s one more! In Amina’s Voice, Amina loves to sing more than anything else, but she’s never more afraid than when she’s trying to perform in front of a large audience. Over the course of this short middle grade novel, Amina learns to trust in the gifts God has given her and begins to understand how she can use her talents to encourage her family and community. Nankani narrates this audiobook perfectly, per usual, and I ended up listening to the whole book in one sitting! I loved this book so much that I immediately picked up Hena Khan’s latest novel More to the Story, which is a retelling of Little Women.