Parents' Guide to

Amina's Voice, Book 1

By Jan Carr, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Beautiful tale of Pakistani American middle-schooler.

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Kids say (6 ):

This beautifully written, pitch-perfect novel expertly balances the narrator's typical American middle school life in Milwaukee with the specifics of her Muslim, Pakistani American culture. The parents in Amina's Voice are naturalized citizens, and the family is American in many ways. Amina watches The Voice, her brother plays basketball and video games, and her mom cross-country skis during snowstorms. Amina's narrative is colloquial, sprinkled with current kid-isms such as "random" and "super chatty," so she seems eminently relatable, and author Hena Khan writes with warmth and emotional honesty.

Khan weaves in details about Amina's culture and faith in just the right measure, familiarizing readers with the names of the clothes she wears (shalwar kameez), the food she eats (samosas), the names of her family and friends (Mustafa, Rabiya), and details about the family's life at the vibrant Islamic Center. They study "surahs" (chapters) from the Quran but also plan a fundraiser with a bounce house and a dunk tank (for dunk-the-imam). Khan focuses instead on how the hate crime affects the Islamic community and the response of their neighbors, which is overwhelmingly supportive. Kids looking to expand their understanding of Muslims and the experience of immigrant families could not do better than this sensitively written book.

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