Sherine Hamdy and Myra El Mir

Author of
  • Jabs

Sherine Hamdy is a faculty member at University of California-Irvine in the Department of Anthropology and Myra El Mir is an illustrator based in Beirut.

Sherine Hamdy’s academic book, Our Bodies Belong to God: Organ Transplants, Islam, and the Struggle for Human Dignity in Egypt (UC Press) is taught widely in courses on Islam and medical anthropology throughout the country. She is also the co-author of another graphic novel: Lissa (Still Time) which will be published with the University of Toronto Press, ethnoGRAPHIC series in 2017. Born in New York to Egyptian parents, she grew up in Mexico City and currently lives in Irvine, CA with her husband and two daughters.

Myra El Mir has illustrated several books published in the Arab World, including two books by Samar Mahfouz Barraj: Khatt Ahmar (Red Line) (Dar al Saqi Press), which won the Arab21 award in 2015, and Ummi wal-tadkhin (Mom Smoking) (Asala Press) which was shortlisted for the Etisalat Award in 2012. Myra has also worked on animation, including the Adventures of Salwa, a Lebanese campaign against sexual harassment that aired on Lebanese television and cinema.

Books by Sherine & Myra


Jabs, written by Sherine Hamdy and illustrated by Myra El-Mir, is a 170-page black & white graphic novel about a young Arab Muslim-American girl’s coming of age.

With poignancy and wit, Jabs explores the story of an Arab American girl, Anisa, whose world is upended by political violence and family tragedy. When teenage Anisa decides to wear the veil as part of her search for identity and belonging, it reveals the faultlines in her family and in the U.S., where everyone seems to have an opinion and a preconceived idea about Muslim women. Anisa starts drawing and posting an anonymous comic called “Hijabville” to explore her mix of emotions around the veil, and the ways one simple choice can be at once so provocative and so misunderstood. As her superhero characters (white feminist “Muse” and magical “Jinni”) skewer the everyday racism and sexism Anisa encounters, they help strengthen Anisa’s inner voice–a voice that’s funny and heartfelt and winning. Ultimately, Jabs is a story about spirituality, love, and growth as Anisa learns to stand tall and live her own truth–with or without the veil.

As the story of a young girl’s political awakening coupled with a fresh examination of the experience of being both American and “other,” a Muslim in today’s America, Jabs is sure to find an audience amongst the same readers who have made Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis and Gene Yang’s American Born Chinese perennial best-sellers and staples of school curricula.

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