Jamal’s Bad-Time Tale, written and illustrated by Absar Kazmi, is a cute early chapter book in the vein of Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day.
Jamal’s day gets off to a bad start, and it just keeps getting worse. He wakes up in a fright when the cat jumps on him and spills cereal on himself at breakfast—and that’s only the beginning. How much worse can Jamal’s day get before it gets better? View Post
Zak is having a great day and can’t wait to go to the skate park with his dad and sister. He just has to do more chore and not tell any lies. Easy, right?
Zak and His Little Lies, written by J. Samia Mair and illustrated by Omar Burgess, is a fun and engaging picture book and the second in a series about Zak. View Post
A Girl Like That, by Tanaz Bhathena, is not an easy story to read. The main character, Zarin Wadia, is a “girl like that,” an outcast with a reputation, to nearly everyone in the story except for her friend Porus. And Zarin and Porus are dead on the first page.
Yep, it’s that kind of book.
Zarin lives with her aunt and uncle because her mother and father (former dancer and gangster) are dead. Her home life is extremely difficult thanks to her aunt and in spite of her uncle. At school, she is ostracized by the girls and objectified by the boys, who are a disturbing example of the meaning of rape culture. Her friend Porus is everyone’s favorite character—kind, understanding, and fiercely loyal. The book opens at the end—she and Porus are dead, victims of a car crash and floating above their bodies. View Post
No Ordinary Day is the story of a group of five nine-year-old friends who are expecting a special guest at school. The kids are thrilled when they find out that the guest is a Muslim soccer star who is giving away tickets to a local game. To choose who gets the tickets, he asks the students to recite some Quran and explain why studying the Quran is important to each of them. And the story goes from there.
What this book has got going for it: a diverse cast a characters, fun illustrations, and a story that shows kids excited to learn Quran. View Post
Escape from Aleppo is a middle grade novel by N.H. Senzai about one girl’s escape from the Syrian city of Aleppo when fighting reaches the city.
The novel opens with Nadia being awoken in the early morning; her family are finally leaving the city for good. She hasn’t left her house since she was injured by shrapnel from a barmeela that exploded nearby while she was on line for bread. As Nadia hesitates before exiting the building, a bomb goes off, separating her from the rest of her family. They reluctantly move on, and she spends the rest of the novel trying to make her way through the city to the Turkish border where her father is waiting for her. View Post