Amina’s Voice is a great new Muslim #ownvoices MG novel. Here’s my take on the Wisconsin references in the book.
Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan.
Salaam Reads imprint, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2017.
Middle grade realistic fiction, 197 pages.
Lexile: 800L .
AR Level: Not yet leveled.
Amina is shy and a little afraid of some of the big changes coming with middle school, like a chance to enter a singing contest or her uncle coming to stay. Her best friend is Soojin, a Korean immigrant who’s finally becoming an American citizen and wants to change her name. They find that their different cultures have some cultural norms in common, and they bonded over having unusual names. But if Soojin changes her name, is she also going to change her best friend?
There are going to be lots of reviews of this book, so I thought for my review, I’d take a different perspective. Kirin at Notes from an Islamic School Librarian reviewed Amina’s Voice and had only one issue with it, which confirmed my idea that this #ownvoice novel is a great representation of Muslim culture.
“School was over and the summer morning stretched ahead like a soft, sweet piece of bubble gum.” p. 1
The Buried Bones Mystery (Clubhouse Mysteries #1) by Sharon M. Draper, illustrated by Jesse Joshua Watson.
Aladdin, imprint of Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, New York, 1994, my edition published in 2006.
Elementary/middle school mystery fiction, 94 pages + excerpt from book two.
AR Level: 4.3 (worth 2.0 points)
NOTE: Previously published under the title Ziggy and the Black Dinosaurs.
Rico and his three best friends have nothing to do this summer now that the closest basketball court is ruined. So they’re going to start a club, first building a clubhouse. But then they discover a mysterious box, and something important turns up missing. What could be going on?
This book was something of a leap of faith for me. I had never read a book by Sharon Draper before, although several were on my TBR list. So many of her novels have come so highly recommended, that I went ahead and ordered this book in hardcover, sight unseen. I’m so glad, because I foresee it getting a lot of use.
There are several areas of diverse lit that I have very little knowledge about. I don’t know much about Islamic books, so I rely on bloggers like Notes From an Islamic School Librarian to point me towards good reads or point out flaws in books that I might not notice. I’m sadly ignorant about indigenous culture, but Debbie Reese from American Indians in Children’s Literature is helping educate all of us about good Native representation in literature.
But until very recently, I didn’t have many ideas about good South Asian books. Enter the new website Kitaabworld (kitaab means book in many languages). They curate books and some other children’s items from South Asian cultures, including bilingual and religious books.
In addition to selling South Asian books right there on their website, they offer a lot of helpful content for the clueless but well-meaning non-South Asian, such as their guide to the best books of 2016.
I had only heard of four books on this list before, although Save Me a Seat was one of my favorite books of 2016. However there are now several I would like to read, including One Half from the East and YA novel Rani Patel in Full Effect. Mirror in the Sky also looks intriguing.
I hope you are also able to find some new reads from this awesome website!