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Lion on the Inside: How One Girl Changed Basketball by Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir with Judith Henderson; Illustrated by Katherine Ahmed


Lion on the Inside tells the story of Bilqis Abdul-Quaadir, an American girl who became the highest scoring high school basketball player in Massachusetts history. From the age of 3 Bilqis played ball, striving to keep up with her seven older siblings. Throughout her school years she played alongside the best. Bilqis went on to play at the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) level. Often the first Muslim woman to play on a team, Bilqis was set apart by her hijab, a scarf which she wore in keeping with her faith.

On numerous occasions her participation would be challenged because of her scarf. It wasn’t until Bilqis played at a professional level within the International Basketball Federation that she needed to make a choice between her faith and her game. The league prohibited her from wearing her hijab. Bilqis chose her faith, reluctantly closing the door to her dream of becoming a professional basketball player.

Told in first-person poetic dialogue, Lion on the Inside quickly draws the reader into Bilqis’ experiences and emotions. Included is a biography of Bilqis’ journey to becoming an advocate for inclusion of Muslim children in all sports. In addition, there is a section of thoughtful questions to encourage further conversation. Christian parents who share this book with their children can learn about our Muslim neighbors and how to love them better in Jesus’ name. They can also discuss how God gave Bilqis a gift for playing basketball. For ages 8-12. (KidsCan Press)

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