Hena Khan brings Pakistani American culture to life in her lovely books Amina’s Voice and Amina’s Song.
AMINA’S VOICE, by Hena Khan, Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, March 14, 2017, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
Amina has never been comfortable in the spotlight. She is happy just hanging out with her best friend, Soojin. Except now that she’s in middle school everything feels different. Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Does Amina need to start changing too? Or hiding who she is to fit in? While Amina grapples with these questions, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized. —Synopsis provided by Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
AMINA’S SONG by Hena Khan, Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, March 9, 2021, Hardcover, $17.99 (ages 8-12)
It’s the last few days of her vacation in Pakistan, and Amina has loved every minute of it. The food, the shops, the time she’s spent with her family—all of it holds a special place in Amina’s heart. Now that the school year is starting again, she’s sad to leave, but also excited to share the wonders of Pakistan with her friends back in Greendale.
After she’s home, though, her friends don’t seem overly interested in her trip. And when she decides to do a presentation on Pakistani hero Malala Yousafzai, her classmates focus on the worst parts of the story. How can Amina share the beauty of Pakistan when no one wants to listen? —Synopsis provided by Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Amina’s story is one that will appeal to a wide cross-section of readers, whether they want to learn more about other cultures or just want a heart-warming read about a girl gaining the courage to stand out.
Not only does author Hena Khan share her culture, she makes you want to be a part of it. Despite racism and anti-Muslim sentiments Amina and her family face, as a reader, you a real sense of family and community. It’s full of sights, colors, smells and traditions. And all of these fairly leap off the pages.
Like so many her age, Amina is unsure of her place in the world. As discovers her voice, she learns how important it is to share it with others.
Khan’s writing is warm and full of life. Her prose is welcoming and pacing sure. I highly suggest adding both books to your middle-reader’s shelf.
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