★ Starred Review from Kirkus:
“Sweet and Sympathetic. Amira’s happy during Eid prayers and when greeting friends and family—until she remembers Picture Day. But maybe there’s a way she can do both? Faruqi effectively builds up the excitement to celebrate Eid and balances it with Amira’s distress at missing Picture Day—readers will see that both are important.” – Kirkus, Starred Review
★Starred Review from School Library Journal:
“Deceptively simple, Faruqi’s narrative gently addresses the impact that the celebration of non-Judeo-Christian holidays has on children and choices families make to uphold traditions. A lovely addition to the collection of books about Eid that can be used all year long.” – School Library Journal, Starred Review
★Starred Review from Publishers Weekly:
★ “Faruqi’s prose is sweetly descriptive (“Tiny mirrors on her blue shalwar kameez shone happily in the sunlight”), and jewel-toned digital illustrations by Azim have a joyful, comics-style sensibility, with meticulous attention paid to the attire of the diverse crowd at the masjid. An endearing portrait of one child’s specific cultural concern, with universal appeal for any reader ever caught between conflicting commitments. Back matter includes an author’s note, more information on Eid, and a glossary. Ages 4–8. (Apr.)
Ramadan is over and Amira can’t wait to celebrate Eid. Spotting the new moon, she celebrates because Eid is tomorrow and she gets to miss school to go to the mosque for the Eid prayer and brunch. But then she realizes that tomorrow is Picture Day at school. How will her class remember her if she’s not in the class picture? What will Amira do?
This is my debut Middle Grade book and I can’t wait for you to read it! Info behind the book deal going to auction is here. An interview with the illustrator Soumbal Qureshi and cover designer Molly Fehr on designing this cover is here.
Starred Review from Kirkus Reviews:
★ “Lyrical. Hopeful. Poignant. Faruqi’s use of free verse will captivate readers with its metaphors that emphasize feelings and details of daily life. Middle schoolers who struggle with fitting in will resonate with the story while also receiving a glimpse into the lives of a Pakistani immigrant family.” – Kirkus Reviews, Starred
A Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year · Kid’s Indie Next List · Featured in Today Show’s AAPI Heritage Month list · A Kirkus Children’s Best Book of 2021 · A National Council of Teachers of English Notable Verse Novel · Jane Addams 2022 Children’s Book Award Finalist · 2021 Nerdy Award Winner · Muslim Bookstagram Award Winner for Best Middle School Book
For fans of Other Words for Home and Front Desk, this powerful, charming immigration story follows a girl who moves from Karachi, Pakistan, to Peachtree City, Georgia, and must find her footing in a new world. Reem Faruqi is the ALA Notable author of award-winning Lailah’s Lunchbox.
“A lyrical coming of age story exploring family, immigration, and most of all belonging.” —Aisha Saeed, New York Times bestselling author of Amal Unbound
“This empowering story will resonate with people who have struggled to both fit in and stay true to themselves.” —Veera Hiranandani, Newbery Honor author of The Night Diary
“A gorgeously written story, filled with warmth and depth.” —Hena Khan, author of Amina’s Voice
When her family moves from Pakistan to Peachtree City, all Nurah wants is to blend in, yet she stands out for all the wrong reasons. Nurah’s accent, floral-print kurtas, and tea-colored skin make her feel excluded, until she meets Stahr at swimming tryouts.
And in the water Nurah doesn’t want to blend in. She wants to win medals like her star athlete brother, Owais—who is going through struggles of his own in the U.S. Yet when sibling rivalry gets in the way, she makes a split-second decision of betrayal that changes their fates.
Ultimately Nurah slowly gains confidence in the form of strong swimming arms, and also gains the courage to stand up to bullies, fight for what she believes in, and find her place.
Zahra often happily volunteers to help a fellow classmate who needs a little extra assistance in school. It is only when she gets picked on by two popular students for helping him, she decides to distance herself from the fellow classmate to fit in more with her popular classmates. Later, she feels regret for her actions, but it is too late. Now, she decides to take matters into her own hands…
★ “An illuminating glimpse into how a young child learns to trust her instinct and be kind to others.” – Starred Review, Kirkus.
★ “I Can Help is a memorable story about the rippling and lingering effects of cruelty and the redeeming power of kindness.” Book Page Reviews, Starred
★ “The tightly written narrative could lead to discussions about handling peer pressure, dealing with ethical predicaments, and learning from one’s mistakes.” -ALA BookList Reviews, Starred
3. Golden Girl (Harper Collins 2-22-22). Cover art by Anoosha Syed
Award-winning author Reem Faruqi delivers a powerful and relatable story that will leave readers with laughter, hope, and lessons learned. This middle grade novel in verse tackles difficult topics in a poignant way, and is infused with humor and family dynamics.
Seventh grader Aafiyah Qamar loves playing tennis, reading weird-but-true facts, and hanging out with her best friend, Zaina. However, Aafiyah has a bad habit that troubles her—she’s drawn to pretty things and can’t help but occasionally “borrow” them.
But when her father is falsely accused of a crime he hasn’t committed and gets taken in by authorities, Aafiyah knows she knows she needs to do something to help. When she brainstorms a way to bring her father back, she turns to her weird-but-true facts and devises the perfect plan.
But what if her plan means giving in to her bad habit, the one she’s been trying to stop? Aafiyah wants to reunite her family, but finds that maybe her plan isn’t so perfect after all. . . .
★ “This skillfully imagined novel is immediately absorbing. Faruqi’s lilting lines have plenty to savor, but her pages turn quickly, drawing readers easily into Aafiyah’s story. In spare but carefully chosen words, Faruqi builds a complex drama. All of the relationships ring with authenticity and emotion.” – BookPage, Starred Review
“A story about family, friendship, change, and hope.” —Kirkus
“In Aafiyah, Faruqi creates a relatable but flawed protagonist whose road to redemption makes for an engaging, warmhearted story.” —Booklist
“Much like in her previous novel Unsettled, Faruqi’s elegantly crafted verse illuminates a Muslim family navigating and ultimately transcending domestic challenges. She writes with incisive sensitivity of a common disorder that gets little attention in youth literature.” —Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books
“This story [has] a well-characterized, flawed heroine and a lot of heart.” —Publishers Weekly
“Exquisite.” – Aisha Saeed, NYT Bestselling Author of Amal Unbound and Omar Rising
4. Anisa’s International Day (Harper Collins Fall 9-20-22) To be illustrated by Aaliyah Jaleel
From the award-winning author of Unsettled, meet Anisa, the adorable Pakistani American heroine of this irresistible younger middle grade novel about a girl who introduces her class to the art of mehndi for International Day. Filled with fun black-and-white interior art, recipes, and activities in the back matter and perfect for fans of Meet Yasmin!
Anisa is super-excited about International Day and can’t wait to share her mother’s samosas with her class. But when someone else has the exact same idea, Anisa is crushed.
Going to her aunt’s dholki party gives her an idea for the perfect activity instead—mehndi! There’s only one problem: Anisa’s best friend doesn’t seem to like the idea. She doesn’t even seem to like Anisa anymore.
Will Anisa ever get to enjoy International Day?
5. Milloo’s Mind (HarperCollins 1/17/2023). To be Illustrated by Hoda Hadadi.
★ “Powerful prose underscores Milloo’s determination and the importance of gender equity in education. The detailed art invites readers to linger over each page, poring over collaged outfits and patterns, all of which evoke a strong sense of place.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
★“With euphonious prose, Faruqi commemorates the accomplishments of her grandmother, educator Maryam “Milloo” Faruqi (1920–2012), known for founding Happy Home Schools in Karachi, Pakistan. Vividly colored, elegantly textured and paper collages by Hadadi provide visual depth against white backdrops” – Publishers Weekly (starred review)
From the author of Lailah’s Lunchbox and Unsettled comes a powerful picture book biography about Maryam Faruqi, the founder of the Happy Home Schools, which provided education to thousands of girls across Pakistan at a time when girls weren’t encouraged to go to school.
Maryam was a trailblazer for women’s education and the author is her granddaughter, creating a personal, inspiring tale. Perfect for fans of Malala’s Magic Pencil and She Persisted!
Milloo lives in a time when school is considered unnecessary for girls. But to Milloo, education is essential.
When Milloo reads, her thoughts dance. Milloo courageously dreams of becoming a teacher, but in fifth grade her parents tell her she has had enough school. Milloo is heartbroken but finds a way to achieve her educational goals, graduating high school and college with honors. When she’s married, Milloo’s husband tells her to stay home, but she does not let that stop her.
She decides to open a school in her house and later opens more schools around Karachi, Pakistan, fulfilling her dreams.
6. Call Me Adnan (6-13-2023)
Adnan Zakir loves table tennis. One thing he doesn’t like is losing. He’s colorblind, left-handed, and has a fondness for the aviation alphabet. He’s super close with his sister, Aaliyah, who is a great dancer and memorizer of the Quran, and he loves his little toddler brother, Rizwan, who only wants to grow up and play table tennis like his big brother.
All Adnan dreams of is to make it to the Ultimate Table Tennis Championship in Florida, but first he must qualify at his local Atlanta playoffs. Adnan’s cousins live in Florida, and if he qualifies for the tournament, he knows he will get to spend the Eid holiday with his cousins. When Adnan qualifies, he can’t wait for the most epic Eid ever!
But when the family travels to Florida for the tournament, an unthinkable tragedy strikes, and Adnan swears he’ll never play table tennis ever again. Slowly, he and his family must learn to make peace and heal, as Adnan finds a way to move past what happened and find hope once more. Reem Faruqi has written another poignant, heartfelt, and powerful middle grade novel about a Muslim family that must cope with a terrible loss and come together as one again.
7. Yusra Mardini’s Incredible Journey from Refugee to Olympic Swimmer (September 5, 2023), illustrated by Asma Enayeh.
Growing up in Damascus, the pool was Yusra Mardini’s happy place. She learned to swim before she could walk. And with swimming came a dream—to compete in the Olympic games.
But when war came to Syria, Yusra’s home—and her pool—were no longer safe. Yusra and her sister set out on a harrowing journey, crossing the sea in search of safety.
In the inspirational tale that follows, Yusra’s courageous spirit shines. Crammed on a too-small refugee boat, disaster strikes when the boat’s motor breaks! Scared but determined, Yusra plunges into the water and starts swimming.
Infused with hope, Yusra’s story encourages readers to pursue their own dreams, revealing how she met waves of danger with strength and perseverance. One breath at a time.
Readers will dive into this courageous tale of an athlete, refugee, and hero who inspired the world with her resolve to pursue her Olympic dream.
8. Do You Even Know Me? (5-21-2024) Illustrated by Ani Bushry.
When Salma hears the word Muslim over and over again on TV, she worries especially when she gets picked on at school. However, Salma learns to speak up and live up to her name, which means peace.
9. Lailah’s Lunchbox (Tilbury House 2015) Illustrated by Lea Lyon.
Lailah is in a new school in a new country, thousands of miles from her old home, and missing her old friends. When Ramadan begins, she is excited that she is finally old enough to participate in the fasting but worried that her classmates won’t understand why she doesn’t join them in the lunchroom.
Lailah solves her problem with help from the school librarian and her teacher and in doing so learns that she can make new friends who respect her beliefs. This gentle, moving story from first-time author Reem Faruqi comes to life in Lea Lyon’s vibrant illustrations. Lyon uses decorative arabesque borders on intermittent spreads to contrast the ordered patterns of Islamic observances with the unbounded rhythms of American school days.
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