Thursday, March 23, 2017

One of the Most Important Books: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

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One of the Most Important Books: Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
Amina's Voice
Hena Khan
Genre: Contemporary, Middle-Grade
Publication date: March 14th, 2017
by Salaam Reads

GoodreadsPurchase
A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community in this sweet and moving middle grade novel from the award-winning author of It’s Ramadan, Curious George and Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns.

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.

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.
-A copy was provided by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers for review-

It’s in the title of this review post but I am going to repeat it anyway: Amina’s Voice is one of the most important books published this year and has clearly not gotten the hype it deserves. It’s a middle grade book and I know a lot of people shy away from reading those because reading tastes vary but please don’t overlook this book. Amina’s Voice is such a wonderful, heartfelt book and deserves and infinite amount of love from everybody.

I should take a moment to say I am neither Muslim-American or Pakistani-American but Amina’s Voice still resonated with and I found myself nodding along and feeling Amina’s struggle with her cultural identity on a spiritual level. I grew up feeling similar struggles and even though it wasn’t ~my story~, it felt really freeing to see that struggle reflected in a book I was reading and made the younger Rashika in me feel a little bit more at rest.

Amina’s Voice deals with cultural identity, religious identity and that awkward transition from elementary school to middle school. Even if you went to junior high instead of elementary + middle school, I think we can all agree that 6th grade is weird as fuck. EVERYTHING CHANGES and yet nothing really changes. People who you thought you knew are different. Middle school is just a weird time in general.

Hena Khan also incorporates some food porn into the novel and my mouth was WATERING as I read (and my stomach craved a delicious, home cooked meal.) This book- if you haven’t already gathered-deals with such serious issues and does so masterfully. Hena Khan knows her audience well and incorporates thought provoking discussions into the little things.

This is a book that should be in the hands of every middle schooler but young adults and adults can also take so much away from this beautifully, written novel. Don’t sleep on Amina’s Voice. READ IT and spread the love. We need so much more Muslim rep in children’s lit and the existence of this delightful, #ownvoices book is a step in the right direction. Let’s support these books though so we can get EVEN MORE.

*mic drop*

5 Stars
5 Hot Espressos

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

5 Books Carrie Mac Wishes Were Around When She Was Growing Up

Posted by on 03/21/2017 • 1 Comment

Hello and welcome to Xpresso Reads’ tour stop for 10 Things I Can See From Here. Today, author Carrie Mac shares 5 books she wishes were around when she was growing up! Her list is full of many wonderful recs (and some new to me titles) so I am definitely piling up on those books! I hope you’ll check the books and 10 Things I Can See From Here!

PLEASE GIVE IT UP FOR, Carrie Mac!

I’ve picked books aimed at younger readers, say 8-12-years-old or so because that’s when kids need to see the people they are, or will become, represented in books. When they don’t—because the book hasn’t been written or they’re not allowed to read it—that’s when feelings of isolation really set in, just…

Fresh Batch (March 19th-25th)

Fresh Batch (March 19th-25th)

Posted by on 03/18/2017 • 0 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

Shadow Run AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller Series: Kaitan Chronicles #1 Publication date: March 21st 2017by Delacorte Press

Goodreads Purchase

“Firefly” meets DUNE in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.

Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.

As for Nev, he’s…

Fresh Batch (March 12th-18th)

Fresh Batch (March 12th-18th)

Posted by on 03/11/2017 • 2 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

Hunted Meagan Spooner Publication date: March 14th 2017by HarperTeen

Goodreads Purchase

Beauty knows the Beast’s forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city’s highest aristocrats, far from her father’s old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who’s ever come close to discovering them.

So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there’s no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas…or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman….

Fresh Batch (March 5th-11th)

Fresh Batch (March 5th-11th)

Posted by on 03/04/2017 • 3 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

You’re Welcome, Universe Whitney Gardner Publication date: March 7th 2017by Knopf

Goodreads Purchase

A vibrant, edgy, fresh new YA voice for fans of More Happy Than Not and Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, packed with interior graffiti.

When Julia finds a slur about her best friend scrawled across the back of the Kingston School for the Deaf, she covers it up with a beautiful (albeit illegal) graffiti mural.

Her supposed best friend snitches, the principal expels her, and her two mothers set Julia up with a one-way ticket to a “mainstream” school in the suburbs, where she’s treated like an outcast…

Diverse Books Out February 2017

Diverse Books Out February 2017

Posted by on 03/02/2017 • 6 Comments

Hello and welcome to the February round up of diverse releases! Let me know if any of these have bad rep or if there are any books that I missed. We want this list to be as complete and accurate as possible while also making sure it doesn’t feature any books with bad rep. We will also be pointing out the books we know for sure are #ownvoices.

 

1. A Tragic Kind of Wonderful by Eric Lindstorm

Release Date: February 7th

Goodreads | Buy

Interracial romance + deals with mental health.

 

2. Wintersong by S.Jae Jones

Release Date: Feb 7th

Goodreads | Buy

Korean-American author

 

3. Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Release Date: Feb 7th

Goodreads | Buy

Filipino-American author + not-white main characters as cannon

READ THIS BOOK!!!: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

READ THIS BOOK!!!: Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza

Posted by on 02/28/2017 • 5 Comments

I don’t know how to start this review, guysssssss. Empress of a Thousand Skies WAS AMAZING. LIKE I ACTUALLY CANNOT even formulate words even though its been almost a week since I read it. ITS GOT EVERYTHING. People on the run, royalty, secrets, betrayal and hints of romances. YES, MULTIPLE ROMANCES I THINK. I could be wrong.

Did you really like Illuminae? Read this fucking book and love it even more. Seriously. ITS THAT GOOD.

Reasons to Read Empress of a Thousand Skies

1. The world building. I love the complexity of the world. I love that the racial struggles IRL are addressed through racial struggles within the novel and I love the commentary that is made through these struggles. Empress of a Thousand Skies is and tries to reflect on our society…

Fresh Batch (February 26th-March 4th)

Fresh Batch (February 26th-March 4th)

Posted by on 02/25/2017 • 3 Comments

Fresh Batch, posted weekly, keeps you up to date on the hottest releases of the upcoming week.

Flavor of the week:

The Hate U Give Angie Thomas Publication date: February 28th 2017by Balzer + Bray

Goodreads Purchase

Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Angie Thomas’s searing debut about an ordinary girl in extraordinary circumstances addresses issues of racism and police violence with intelligence, heart, and unflinching honesty. Soon to be a major motion picture from Fox 2000/Temple Hill Productions.

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at…