One Wish: Fatima al-Fihri and the World’s Oldest University

HarperCollins. Feb. 2022. 40p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780063032910.
Gr 2-5–This is a beautiful new biography about Fatima al-Fihri, and the university she founded in Morocco. In simple but flowing prose, Yuksel brings al-Fihri’s story from the ninth century to the present, weaving a tale of faith and charity through the “one wish” she had, to establish a school for all. Quraishi’s illustrations are sweet and subtle—the juxtaposed end papers show al-Fihri’s lasting legacy, and the use of a similar fabric on her headdress and in the garments of scholars in the future is a heartwarming touch. This is a well-crafted picture book biography, especially given that so little is known of al-Fihri’s early years. The focus on her legacy, as well as the back matter with time lines and translations, is a strong pull for readers.
VERDICT Who could not love a book about a girl whose first spoken word was “read”? Add this biography to any collection looking to be well rounded when it comes to women’s history.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing