Amina’s Song  – Hena Khan

  Amina’s Song  – Hena Khan. Salaam Reads, 2021. 9781534476226

Format: Advanced Reader Copy

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

 Genre: realistic fiction

 What did you like about the book? Amina and her family have spent a month of their summer vacation visiting family in Lahore, Pakistan, and now they are back in Greendale as Amina is starting 7th grade.  Before leaving Pakistan, she promised her uncle that she would go back to America and help share the positive and beautiful things about her homeland.  Unfortunately, with the excitement of starting a new school year, her friends don’t seem very interested in hearing about her trip, and when Amina decides to do a biography project about Malala Yousafzai, her classmates can only focus on the negative. As the school year moves on and Amina begins to gain more confidence and understanding, she also befriends a new boy in school who helps her find a creative way to share her love of both of her countries.

The depiction of Amina’s warm, loving – but not perfect –  relationships, with old and new friends and with family both at home and abroad, make this an eminently readable and enjoyable follow-up to Amina’s Voice.  Young readers will empathize with Amina’s challenges in trying to fit in in two worlds, cheer for her as she works to overcome her fear of public speaking, and identify with her typical middle school struggles around friends, boys, and clothes.  Themes of inclusivity and social responsibility are highlighted, and might prove inspirational for readers to reach out to new classmates, and seek volunteer opportunities.

Anything you did not like about the book? nothing

 To whom would you recommend this book? Readers of Amina’s Voice will definitely love this follow-up, although it is not necessary to have read the first book to appreciate this one.  A good fit for books like American as Paneer Pie, Front Desk, A Place at the Table, or Save Me a Seat.  

Who should buy this book? Public, elementary and middle school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Fiction

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles?  no

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: 4/12/2021

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