AMINA'S VOICE -- brings to life the joys and challenges of a young Pakistani American and highlights the many ways in which one girl’s voice can help bring a diverse community together to love and support each other
Amina's Voice by Hena Khan (2017, Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; 208 pages)
Amina’s Voice is the latest book by Hena Khan, a Pakistani American author who enjoys writing about her culture as well as all sorts of other subjects.
In Amina’s Voice, she chooses to let her main character, Amina, guide the reader through the days and nights of an almost 12-year-old American girl. Amina’s voice is a powerful one and the reader certainly hears what she has to say. She shares the same questions as many other girls of her age. She has a best friend named Soojin and she is very happy hanging out just with her, but the problem is that now that they are in middle school, everything feels different. Soojin starts hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and she even starts talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Amina doesn’t quite understand this “new” Soojin, but she loves her friend and she tries to keep up with the new changes.
In Amina’s narration, she brings us many details about her family and those details are a pure joy to read. While her life goes on, and she struggles to keep up with the changes that middle school brings into her life, her local mosque is vandalized, and she is devastated. The final chapters of the book are a beautiful example of how a fractured community begins to heal.
Amina’s Voice is a beautiful, fun and interesting book. The author believes in the power of a young girl’s voice, and in this book you will certainly hear it. Recommended to young readers curious about cultural diversity, and those who enjoy strong, young female characters. Best for 8 to 12.
Find this title in our catalog: Amina's Voice
Recommended by: Maite
THE INQUISITOR'S TALE: OR, THE THREE MAGICAL CHILDREN AND THEIR HOLY DOG -- an exciting and hilarious medieval adventure
The Inquisitor's Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz (2016, Dutton Books For Young Readers; 384 pages)
This is a profound and ambitious book, and an example of great storytelling.
The story starts on a dark night in the year 1242, when a group of travelers gather at a small French inn. It is a perfect night for a story, and everyone in the kingdom is looking forward to learn more about the tale of three children: Jeanne, a peasant girl who has visions of the future (character loosely based on Joan of Arc); William, a young monk with supernatural strength; and Jacob, a Jewish boy who can heal any wound. Together, their powers will be tested by demons and dragons, cruel knights and cunning monks. These three unlikely friends and their faithful greyhound are going to be chased through France to a final showdown in the waves at the foot of the abbey-fortress of Mont-Saint-Michel.
One of the most brilliant parts of this book is the manuscript illuminations created by illustrator Hatem Aly that offers the feel and texture of 13th-century France. They are also filled with the author’s trademark style and humor. The novel is a well-researched and engaging adventure, but it is more than that: it is a sweet and moving story about the power of friendship, curiosity and love of learning, all in a world filled with hate and narrow-mindedness.
One of my favorite aspects of the book is the closing author’s note chapter where he explains where the story came from. He explains how much of the novel is real and how much is made up, offers deep details of the main characters, and he also offers a historical context of the High Middle Ages, the time when The Inquisitor’s Tale takes place.
Find this title in our catalog: The Inquisitor's Tale
Recommended by: Maite
WOMEN IN SCIENCE: 50 FEARLESS PIONEERS WHO CHANGED THE WORLD -- a charmingly illustrated and educational book that celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who paved the way for the next generations
Women In Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed The World written and illustrated by Rachel Ignotofsky (2016, Ten Speed Press; 128 pages)
This juvenile nonfiction book is a bliss and a joy. One of those books I wish I would have had the opportunity to have in my hands when I was a young girl, looking around for female role models in any field in life. Those books didn't exist then; woman scientist wasn’t even a concept.
But now, it is a scientific fact: Women rock, and they rock also in science. Everything about this book is charming. The facts, the portraits of those 50 fearless pioneers who changed the world, the format, and those incredible illustrations included in each chapter. The fifty notable women belong to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from the ancient to the modern world. The art is striking, and the collection also includes infographics about relevant topics such as lab equipment, rates of women currently working in STEM fields, and an illustrated scientific glossary.
The reader can dive into profiles of well-known figures like primatologist Jane Goodall, as well as lesser-known pioneers such as Gertrude Elion, pharmacologist and biochemist, Annie Easley, computer programmer, mathematician and rocket scientist, Patricia Bath, ophthalmologist and inventor, or Sau Lan Wu, particle physicist among many others.
This book not only celebrates the achievements of the intrepid women who have paved the way for the next generation of female scientists, the book also celebrates diversity and embraces it.
This is a beautiful, gorgeous, excellent book. Read it!
Find this title in our catalog: Women In Science
Recommended by: Maite