PHILADELPHIA -- Sunset on Wednesday marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan.
It's a time for Muslims around the world to reflect on their faith, one that isn't always represented in literature.
But one Philadelphia author is trying to change that. Her newest book was inspired by her strong foundation in the Muslim faith.
"My father was so unapologetic, he would pray anywhere," recalled Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow of her time growing up in West Philadelphia and Upper Darby, Pennsylvania.
A strong foundation of faith is something Thompkins-Bigelow has always had, but didn't always see in media.
"As a Black Muslim child, I really didn't find that many books that centered around Black Muslim children," she said.
It's the reason the former teacher became an author.
Her work puts Black Muslim characters at the center of stories in brightly colored children's books.
"'Salat in Secret' is a book about a young boy who really wants to pray all five daily prayers," she said of the upcoming book. "His dad gives him a Salat rug, or prayer rug. He actually sneaks around his school and tries to find places to pray in secret."
But prayer, she says, shouldn't be a secret. It's central to the Muslim faith especially during Ramadan, which is 30 days of self-reflection, good deeds, fasting from sunrise to sunset and praying.
"I know a lot of children who really, especially during this holy month, want to do their prayers during the school day, but it can be hard to be that child," she said.
She added that the main character of 'Salat in Secret' has to learn to advocate for himself and ask for a place to pray.
She hopes that showing this character's secret struggle will encourage more Muslim children to practice their faith proudly and help others understand.
"Everybody's open to children's books," said the author, whose works have gained accolades from outlets such as NPR and Time Magazine. "Adults love children's books."
With seven books under her belt, including an upcoming middle school adventure-style novel that she co-wrote with three other Muslim authors, Thompkins-Bigelow is bringing to life the stories she never saw.
She hopes it helps Muslim children see themselves not just during Ramadan, but every day.
"To make it a little easier for Muslim children to exist in the world and for people to understand and empathize with them," she said.
'Salat in Secret' will be released on June 6. It can be found online or in stores.