WHAT IT IS: Amina’s Voice is a feel-good middle grade novel about a 6th grader who deals with issues of fitting in and gaining self confidence.
Amina’s best friend Soojin is thinking about changing her name to Susan when she becomes an American citizen, and Amina wonders if she should try to fit in more, too. Emily, a former bully, wants to be friends with Amina and Soojin, but Amina is having trouble forgiving Emily for the past. Meanwhile, Amina’s uncle is visiting from “back home,” and he questions her piano lessons and involvement in chorus—saying that music is not Islamic. To top it all off, Amina’s parents sign her up for a Quran competition. How can Amina recite Quran, which she’s not very good at, in front of everyone?
WHAT I LIKED: I liked seeing interfaith issues explored in this book, and I’m glad the happy ending had to do with Amina finding herself in the larger interfaith community as opposed to her family or even her masjid. That is an important narrative that is not often explored. I also really appreciated that the Quran is ultimately a source of empowerment for Amina.
I read a library copy, and I found this note inside.
I’m really happy to see excited young readers!
While this masjid and this plot line doesn’t reflect my own personal reality of Islam in the US, I really appreciate it for reflecting one of the innumerable realities of Muslims in America.
Amina’s Voice is published by Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster (2017), and you can get a copy here.