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Middle School January 2019 (1)

August 1st, 2018 | Posted by schliesman in 2018-2019 | 2018-2019 Middle School | Middle School | January

book cover
Khan, Hena. Amina’s Voice. Salaam Reads, 2017. 197 pages (978–1–4814–9206–5)

Ages 9-13

Amina is unhappy that her best friend, Soojin, has started inviting Emily, a classmate neither of them has ever liked, to spend time with them. At home, Amina’s family is getting ready for the visit of Thaya Jaan, her father’s older brother, from Pakistan. To impress Thaya Jaan, and support their Imam, Amina’s parents insist Amina and her older brother, Mustafa, complete  in their mosque’s upcoming Quran recitation competition. Mustafa, who wants his parents to let him play high school basketball, agrees willingly. But Amina suffers from serious stage fright—it’s why she never tries out for a solo in her middle school choir, despite her talent and love of singing. A swiftly paced novel showing a Muslim family and community as part of the fabric of American life also includes a hateful attack when vandals break into the mosque. No one is hurt, but the damage is great and the fear and sadness palpable. So, too, is the caring. People both within and outside Amina’s faith community offer solace, support, and help repairing the damage. This welcome story has finely developed primary and secondary characters, from Amina, Soojin, and Emily (whom Amina comes to appreciate) to Amina’s family members, including her at-first intimidating uncle, who proves to have both conservative ideas and an open mind. The novel is set in the Milwaukee-area community of Greendale. ©2018 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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