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Amina's Voice Hardcover – March 14, 2017
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover," illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Learn more
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From School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—A satisfying read about an 11-year-old girl navigating friendship, family, religion, and dreams of becoming a soul-singing sensation. In a quiet Milwaukee suburb, Amina and her best friend Soojin grapple with their own ethnic identities and the pressure to Americanize. Soojin is Korean American and on the pathway to citizenship. She's contemplating changing her name to solidify her American identity, while Amina, who is Pakistani American, must reconcile her love of singing Motown with her Muslim faith. Popular Emily, a white girl, who has a history of bullying, creates a wedge when she tries to befriend the pair, drawing skepticism from Amina. Things begin to unravel when Amina's uncle comes to visit from Pakistan and her deficiencies in Urdu and Arabic are exposed—along with the fact that Amina and her older brother, Mustafa, aren't necessarily the perfect children her father would like them to be. When the neighborhood mosque is vandalized, the greater community comes together. Amina's struggles to balance her faith, friendship, and aspirations are all resolved—albeit a bit too neatly. VERDICT A universal story of self-acceptance and the acceptance of others. A welcome addition to any middle grade collection.—Christina Vortia, Hype Lit, Wesley Chapel, FL
*"Amina's middle school woes and the universal themes running through the book transcend culture, race, and religion. A perfect first book for this new Muslim imprint." (Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW)
"Watching Amina literally and figuratively find her voice—bolstered by community, friendship, and discovered inner strength—makes for rewarding reading." (Publishers Weekly)
*"A universal story of self-acceptance and the acceptance of others. A welcome addition to any middle grade collection." (School Library Journal, STARRED REVIEW)
*"Written as beautifully as Amina’s voice surely is, this compassionate, timely novel is highly recommended for all libraries." (Booklist, STARRED REVIEW)
"[A] relatable portrayal of a tween who wants to fit in, and who’s devoted to her faith even amid her confusion about her family’s varied approaches to it." (Horn Book)
"This gentle example of multicultural domestic realism hits all of the right notes...a comforting counternarrative to what young readers may see on the news." (BCCB March 2017)
"Realistic fiction centered on a Pakistani-American Muslim girl is a refreshing change in the middle grade market.....It’s solid storyline and the common denominator of middle school drama highlights the fact that students from all backgrounds may be more alike than they realize. Recommended." (School Library Connection May/June 2017)
"Hena Khan (It's Ramadan, Curious George) writes a gentle coming-of-age story universal in theme and original in context, and appealing to any reader who has just wanted to slow the world down." (Shelf Awareness 3/17/17)
"For inspiring empathy in young readers, you can’t get better than this book." (R. J. Palacio, author of #1 New York Times bestseller Wonder)
Top customer reviews
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1. Amina’s family! Her father - who is rather strict, does NOT care if he embarasses his kids by asking a million questions at Open House, but stands up for his daughter at a moment when she needs it. At first I wasn’t sure about him, but oh he grew on me! Her mom, who spends days preparing tons of traditional Pakistani food for their visiting uncle. That doesn’t quite go as planned. And Amina’s older brother, Mustafa, whose interest in trying out for the basketball team instead of joining something like Chess Club causes some friction at home. There was so much to relate to in those family moments in Amina’s Voice.
2. That ending! I don’t want to give away too much but something bad happens in Amina’s Muslim community and the way things come together in the end makes me wish that every kid could read this story as a template of what to do in that kind of situation. It didn’t shy away from difficult realities or make problems seem easy to solve yet it was uplifting and perfect.
3. That this novel offers Muslim students and students from the Middle East with a main character whose background and customs might be a reflection of their own, or have pieces they can relate to. I so wish that I had this book six years ago to offer to my own Amina. She was a student of mine when I taught 6th grade and Muslim. And may have connected to this Amina’s story but she was from Bosnia so although the religious details about the Imam and Sunday school and learning passages from the Quran may have been a connection, the food and other cultural details might not have been. So while this book is absolutely a great addition to any library, I just hope that people don’t stop there and think they’ve covered a niche. It’s one girl’s story and I just can’t wait to see what else this new imprint of Simon & Schuster, Salaam Reads, will bring to the kidlit community so we have more and more stories to offer kids.
(Review from Books Between Podcast)