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Review: Amina's Voice by Hena Khan

Title: Amina's Voice
Author: Hena Khan
Year Published: 2017

Genre: YA (middle school) fiction
Pages: 197
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)USA (WI)

FTC Disclosure: I bought this book with my own money

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): 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, her local mosque is vandalized, and she is devastated. In Amina's Voice, readers will witness the power of a young girl using her voice to bring people together.

Review: Given the state of thing in the US right now I thought this would be a good book to read and then pass on to one of our local junior highs. I hope that students who read it see that Amina is just like them with talents, friends (who sometimes have misunderstandings), fears, and sometimes a really big obstacle to overcome.

This really is a sweet book about the transition to middle school when friends sometimes go their own way, new challenges arise, and life can start to throw kids some challenges. Amina is a smart girl who has a wonderful best friend, Soojin. As middle school begins, a third girl enters the friendship, throwing Amina for a loop. How is this going to affect her friendship with Soojin? Will their friendship ever be the same?

Amina is a really good singer, it's nice to have a teenage character who acknowledges her talent, but isn't stuck up about it. It's just who she is. In fact, Amina sings in front of her family and Soojin, but is too embarrassed to sing in public. I like the side story that she is trying to "find her voice" through singing, but also in her relationships with family and friends. The themes in this book are universal, they just happen to be seen through a muslim girl living in the US. These are ideas and events that all young readers can relate to.

Challenges for which this counts:

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