Book About Friendship and Inclusion

Today I have a book about friendship and inclusion.  It is hard enough to manage through the middle school years, now imagine having to do that as a Muslim girl.  This book does a lovely job of sharing the difficulties of being a tween while weaving in the religious and cultural challenges as a Pakastani-American.

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Title: Amina’s VoiceAmin's voice book about friendship and inclusion

Author: Hena Khan

Target: Grades 4-7

Series: No

What this book is about:

As Amina enters middle school things are changing. Her best friend Soojin wants to include Emily, a girl who had teased them when they were younger, in their group. Her brother is becoming a surly teenager and with her uncle coming to visit from Pakistan, Amina is expected to be on her best behavior. This means entering the contest to recite from the Quran, but Amina is terrified of public speaking. In the midst of this, her mosque is vandalized and she is confronted with how people see her from a religious perspective.

Why I love this book:

  • This book does a wonderful job of confronting the issues of simply being a tween, as well as dealing with her Muslim background. Amina is a lovely and sensitive kid who is managing universal issues of growing up, friendship and parental expectations layered with handling religious issues.
  • While I am not from Pakistan, nor am I Muslim, I felt the book did a wonderful job sharing the traditions and cultural norms of this country and religion. As Americans we belong to several different communities, be they religious, cultural, based on interest or even places where we live. Kids will understand Amina’s story as they too manage all their different groups.
  • The story deals with their mosque being vandalized but I will say this is not the main focus of the story but simply weaved in as part of the narrative. Children reading this book will see that Muslim Americans are dealing with all the same issues as any other Americans and that communities can come together for good.

Who this book is for:

Kids who are looking for realistic fiction will enjoy this one. If your child enjoyed It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel this one should hit the right note.

Final thoughts:

Simon & Schuster launched this book under their new imprint, Salaam Reads. It allows Muslim kids to see themselves positively reflected in published works. Given the real world issues we are facing, I wish them much success!

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Amina’s Voice.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.