Despite the game’s mixed reception, praise for Fazal’s performance as Diana Prince has been overwhelmingly positive.
M.O. Yuksel Advocates for Cultural Understanding Through Children’s Books on “American Muslim Project”
With a focus on her upcoming books “Ramadan Kareem” and "Sami’s Special Gift," Yuksel shared her journey into writing and the intentional choices made to promote inclusivity and dispel stereotypes.
In a recent interview on the podcast “American Muslim Project,” author M.O. Yuksel discussed her passion for writing children's books that celebrate the diversity within Muslim cultures. With a focus on her upcoming books “Ramadan Kareem” and "Sami’s Special Gift," Yuksel shared her journey into writing and the intentional choices made to promote inclusivity and dispel stereotypes.
"Ramadan Kareem" takes readers on a global journey to explore the various ways in which the holy month of Ramadan is observed. From Turkey and Australia to Korea, Spain, Uzbekistan and Palestine, Yuksel provides a colorful and detailed portrayal of diverse cultures and traditions. The book aims to showcase the richness of Muslim cultures, breaking away from the monolithic portrayal often seen in the West.
In the interview, Yuksel shared that her inspiration for writing children's books stemmed from a desire to address the lack of representation of diverse Muslim cultures. As she was born in Türkiye and grew up in America, Yuksel felt the need to showcase the variety within Muslim communities, especially during major celebrations like Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. She emphasized the scarcity of children's books focusing on these significant holidays, prompting her to fill the gap.
The vibrant illustrations in Yuksel's books, particularly in "Ramadan Kareem," are intentional efforts to represent diversity. Hatem Ali, the book's illustrator, skillfully includes characters with different skin colors, body types and ethnicities. Yuksel emphasized the importance of not only showcasing Muslim characters but also those from other religions, fostering a sense of unity and understanding among readers.
When discussing the impact of her books during school presentations, Yuksel highlighted the need to change the narrative around Muslims. She emphasized that children as young as 3-years-old can develop biases, making it crucial to expose them to diverse cultures through literature. Yuksel’s books serve as tools to challenge stereotypes and promote understanding.
Yuksel’s journey into writing children's books was not a lifelong dream but a response to a specific need. Invited by her son's preschool teacher to read a book about Eid al-Adha, Yuksel discovered a lack of age-appropriate material. Motivated by this gap, she wrote her first story, which eventually led to a series of books aimed at filling the void in children's literature that highlights Muslim history and culture.
Expressing gratitude to elementary school teachers, Yuksel acknowledged their pivotal role in bringing diverse cultures into classrooms. The initial request from her son's preschool teacher set her on a path to becoming a published author with five books to her name.
Yuksel's dedication to creating inclusive and educational children's books reflects a commitment to fostering cultural understanding. Through engaging narratives and vibrant illustrations, her works challenge stereotypes and provide valuable insights into the richness of Muslim cultures.
You can listen to Yuksel’s full interview on “American Muslim Project” below or wherever you listen to podcasts.