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The Hijab Boutique Kindle Edition
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Farah enjoys her private girls' art school and fun with her friends. That is, until the day she's given an assignment to bring in something representing her mother to talk about for `International Women's Day.' Compared to her friends' glamorous actress, make-up artist and tap-dancing mothers, what can her modest, Hijab-wearing mother possibly have that is worth sharing with her classmates?
Farah Khan is a fifth grader in Ms. Grant's class at Miss Peabody's Academy for Girls, an exclusive art centered grade school. As with every other school, kids caste each other into groups such as The Nerds, Popular Kids, Band Buddies, and Dweebs. The popular girls at Miss Peabody's Academy are known as the "Cool as Ice Girls" and Farah, even though not part of this group, allows these girls' opinions affect her actions.
When assigned a project to celebrate International Women's Day, Farah feels her mother will not have an item as exciting as these girls will. They have popular, exciting, or unusually employed mothers. Farah believes her mother is not interesting, but rather a boring homemaker with a common job. She is afraid her mother has nothing suitable that "celebrates what it means to be a woman." After much hunting and snooping in her mother's things, Farah blows off the assignment.
This is a book every girl (probably boys, too) should read. There is much understanding of the Muslim custom of wearing hijabs in The Hijab Boutique. Ms. Khan has written a revealing story in a non-fearful manner. The actual writing is most awkward in the scenes where Farah and her mother talk. The two voices sound the same. But, the scenes between Farah and her school mates, especially when Farah does her presentation, are just the opposite. Each girl's voice is distinctive and authentic. This is how the book ends, so maybe it is a matter of improving with time.
The illustrations are wonderfully detailed. I found myself going from text to illustration while reading about the types of hijabs woman wear, and the beautiful fabrics used to make them. Ms. Khan has given the reader a wonderful gift as she opens up her culture for each reader, making it an enlightening and positive experience.
At first, I was not sure if I would like this story. I am ashamed to admit my initial reaction was due to ignorance. I know (knew), nothing about Muslim women or the hijabs they wear. What would I be able to identify with? That is what a good story does - allows the reader to identify with, usually, the protagonist. How am I, raised Catholic, going to identify with Muslim women?
Well, by the end of this short (52 page), story, I did identify with Farah. My mother did not have a fancy, exciting job or hobby. I have no idea what item of hers would fulfill the assignment Farah was given. It was not until later in life as an adult that I got to really know and understand my mom. I learned she was a uniquely interesting woman who could have gone toe to toe with any of the Cool as Ice Girls' mothers.
The Hijab Boutique entertains and educates about a subject that is both mysterious and confusing to most non-Muslims. Hijab wearing has sparked controversy with women's rights groups. News shows have done episodes questioning the reasons women wear hijabs. Ms. Khan has used the story of grade school girls and their mothers to foster understanding and clear those questions. The Hijab Boutique helps non-Muslims understand something important to, and about, Muslim women. It is also a good story involving grade school girls. There are not enough chapter books with all female characters. Girls ages ten to teen, and older, will appreciate The Hijab Boutique.
Note: received from library thing, courtesy of the publisher.