Storyteller: Khadijah VanBrakle

Khadijah VanBrakle is a Muslim woman of color who writes stories about characters who are both Black American and Muslim. She knows it’s vital for children and teens from those intersections in the Islamic community, in the United States, to see themselves on the printed page. Books can bridge gaps of understanding in their own special way.

Khadijah’s debut, contemporary young adult novel, Fatima Tate Takes the Cake, is due out from Holiday House on June 13, 2023. Khadijah is represented by Kristina Perez of Perez Literary & Entertainment.

How will Muslim children see themselves in your stories?

“The Muslim characters of color in all of my stories, whether on the page now or in the future, will always be well-rounded, flawed and most of the time, faced with an impossible choice.

Young adult coming-of-age stories, which I love to write, help shape how teenagers view themselves during what can be a difficult time of transition and self-discovery. I think it is vital for marginalized teens to see their realities in books. This way, their struggles and/or triumphs are validated while those unfamiliar with the nuanced lives of Black American Muslims will find common ground within these types of stories.”
Khadijah VanBrakle

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Fatima Tate Takes the Cake

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The Highlights Foundation positively impacts children by amplifying the voices of storytellers who inform, educate, and inspire children to become their best selves.  Learn more about our impact.