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Monday, December 10, 2018

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan

Amina's VoiceAt the beginning of this story, middle schooler Amina, a Muslim American, has one big problem: She really wants to sing a solo at her school's winter music program, but she has a very bad case of stage fright.  Soon, however, her problems start to mount up.

First, she finds out that her uncle from India is going to be staying with her family for several months, and although she loves him, his very strict adherence to Muslim customs and religious practices is not something she's used to.  Her family follows Muslim traditions, but her uncle is not used to American life and she's worried she will be a disappointment to him.

She's also having best friend problems.  Her bestie is going to become an American citizen in a few weeks and wants to change her Korean name from Soojin to Susan.  Amina thinks that's a terrible idea, which causes some tension between them.  On top of that, another classmate, Emily, wants to be friends with them, and Amina is afraid of losing Soojin to this newcomer.

Then one night something truly terrible happens which rocks the Muslim community.  I'm not going to write about it, (you'll have to read the book!) but it's really bad.  Amina can't understand what has happened, but the rest of her friends and their families all pull together to make the situation better.  Through their expressions of love and unity, Amina finds. . . her voice.

There's a lot going on in this book, but it's fast-paced and easy to follow.  It's a story of friendship and courage that drives home the point that there is more in this world that unites us than divides us.

I recommend Amina's Voice to students in grades 4-6.  I sure hope you enjoy it.

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