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Garden of My Imaan Hardcover – April 1, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Peachtree Publishers (April 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561456985
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561456987
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #845,898 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-7-Aliya is worried about fitting in at her New England school for many reasons. Other girls go to parties and talk about boyfriends, but her family is Muslim, so the fifth grader has to think about how these things do or don't fit in with what her religion teaches. Will the other kids notice when she fasts for Ramadan? What type of reaction might she face if she decides to wear the hijab? With Ramadan approaching, her teacher at the Islamic Center tells her to communicate with Allah, and taking the advice of her great-grandmother, Aliya decides to write letters to Allah explaining her concerns. As the year progresses, Aliya works at understanding herself and her faith, and with the support of a new Muslim classmate, she comes to appreciate her many blessings and her identity. The author recognizes the diversity of the Muslim population (Aliya's family is from India, while the new girl is from Morocco); however, the book is definitely slanted toward a more conservative Islamic viewpoint, particularly with regard to the hijab. Aliya mentions that her mother feels that Muslim women can be modest without covering up, and a classmate at the Islamic Center discusses how her parents are not happy about her decision to wear the hijab, but these ideas are not explored further. The novel is at its best when depicting Aliya's interactions with her grandmother and great-grandmother as well as comic incidents such as a halal turkey mix-up at Thanksgiving dinner. This would be a good addition for libraries serving Muslim populations; it also might be of interest to non-Muslim readers wanting to find out more about the religion's everyday life and practices.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Terrorist. Go back to the desert. Drive a camel. Growing up Muslim in the Northeast, Aliya encounters racism on the streets and in her fifth-grade class, even though her family members are not strictly observant Muslims, she does not wear the hijab, and she doesn’t even speak Arabic. She hates it that she is supposed to help a new student, Marwa, who does wear the hijab. Her big interest is in Josh, but he likes her classmate Juliana, and Aliya loses to Juliana in the election for class rep. Aliya’s diarylike entries to Allah about her conflicts are sometimes contrived, but her wry first-person narrative perfectly captures her middle-school struggles with friends and enemies, as well as her family and her faith, as she changes her perspective, stands up to a bully, and wonders if she should wear the hijab after all. True to Aliya’s contemporary viewpoint, which is sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, the messages are never heavy. Grades 4-8. --Hazel Rochman

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Ms. Zia covers both topics wonderfully.
This Kid Reviews Books
This book celebrates the idea that we are more than our race, we are more than our languages and religions.
Crystal
This is an amazing book for 8-12 year olds.
Sultan Zia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By LRR on March 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are many things to like about gardens. Once you get past all of the work (well, you never really do), you find that they provide beauty, nourishment and a reflection of one's self. "The Garden of My Imaan", by Farhana Zia, does all three. My 2 favorite things about this book are 1) the humor and sensitivity with which the author treats the subject and 2) that there is no singular cultural viewpoint or agenda being pushed here. On one level, it's the engaging story of a month-in-the-life of a pre-teen girl. On another level, it may be one of the most important "post 9/11" books ever written.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. Baloch on March 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I really would have liked to have this book when I was in 6th grade, growing up as a Pakistani-American, as it was so difficult to find stories with characters living a multicultural life so similar to my own. I think Aliya's Sunday School must be the same one I went to 35 years ago, and pretty similar to Islamic Centers today as well. I enjoyed interactions between multiple generations of Aliya's family, and the grace and charm exhibited by Marwa which showed that there are many ways to solve a problem.
As a mother of a young teen, I am happy to recommend this book as insight into the kind of simple and complex issues that Muslim-American kids can face today. I would feel comfortable recommending it for girls 11 years and up, and perhaps parents of younger girls would like to read it first (at least the first chapter), or along with their child to make sure it covers age-appropriate issues for their child.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sultan Zia on March 21, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is an amazing book for 8-12 year olds. It deals with the sensitive issue of being a young Muslim in a western society written with integrity and humor . Perhaps the best post 9/11 book written for young adults.
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By Mary M. on July 1, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I found this book on a school librarian site as a good example of students' understanding of diversity. The book arrived in perfect condition within a week. I appreciate the fast delivery so I can review the book before adding it to my classroom library.
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Format: Hardcover
Aliya has always been shy and she doesn't want to call attention to herself. Maybe that's why she doesn't wear a hijab in school or fast much during Ramadan. You see, Aliya is Muslim, but her family isn't strict with following the Muslim rules (her mother believes that Muslim woman can still be modest without wearing a hijab). Then Marwa came to Aliya's school. Marwa is the exact opposite of Aliya. Marwa has tons of courage, always wears a hijab, and fasts for the whole of Ramadan. Marwa has a lot of confidence in herself. Aliya has been asked to help Marwa out at school because she is new. Aliya isn't sure how she can help Marwa, who is so confident.

This was a great multi-cultural book. I liked learning new Arabic & Muslim words that were scattered through-out the book. I like how this book talks about two things - it doesn't matter if you fit in and how bullying effects people. Aliya and Marwa are bullied for being Muslim, and Aliya doesn't want to stick out at school as being Muslim. Ms. Zia covers both topics wonderfully. I like how Marwa has a simple, but great, way of saying things. She could be a scholar. :) I think a lot of kids can learn from this book.
**NOTE This book was a gift
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By T. on May 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book that contains many themes relevant to the life of any late elementary or middle schooler. Realistic, sweet, and satisfying with a happy ending as Aliya discovers and embraces who she is as the story progresses.
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