Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Publication Date: March 14, 2017
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, she is devastated when her local mosque is vandalized.
This was a book I am so so glad exists. I want to push this in front of every Muslim child to show them that they aren’t alone and that it’s okay to not fit in and it’s okay to be scared because it can get better! I wish I had had this book as a kid because I know I would have been so shocked by how relatable it was.
This was a short, sweet read that made me tear up from happiness. The main character is incredibly relatable and sweet and innocent, and it was so refreshing seeing someone who wasn’t ashamed of their heritage… but just scared like any normal kid would be (and annoyed by how ignorant and clueless people can be sometimes). It was so cute seeing her interact with her family and see the dynamics between her and her parents versus her brother and her uncle.
Reading in Amina’s perspective felt a lot like I was looking into my own childhood memories of not feeling like I’m fitting in and having to deal with normal friend drama and family. It was nice seeing Amina get in touch with her religion and learn about her culture.
I honestly finished this so fast because it was light and cute and discussed some really important topics like Islamophobia. I went into this book a little nervous because of my bad experience with Love, Hate, and Other Filters, but thankfully this didn’t disappoint!
I would recommend this to anyone who wants to read a well done, really refreshing and cute #ownvoices story. If you like singing, friendships with the occasional bit of drama, learning about Pakistani culture (REPRESENTATION AHHH), realistic (ish) family dynamics, and a great coming-of-age type story, this is definitely for you! If you want to feel all the feelings when talking about Islamophobia, this one really brings the topic to light in a way that’s perfect for younger and older readers!