Friday, August 19, 2011

Does My Head Look Big In This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else.

Can she handle the taunts of "towel head," the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school?


Genre: contemporary

Rating: 5/5

Two 5 ratings in a row? Have I suddenly become nice in my reviews? No, I just happened upon two really good books. For someone who has taught students who wear the hijab, this book was eye opening about a religion that is often misunderstood in our country.

Amal is a brilliant girl and probably more liberated than most girls and certainly stands up for herself no matter how difficult that is. She runs into prejudice at school, but that isn't nearly as important as how she learns to deal with a crush on a boy she knows shy can't be physical with, befriends a cranky neighbor who makes Amal realize she had some preconceived notions of her own, and her frustration over her friend's culturally backwards mother. No matter what the situation, Amal makes sense of it in relation to her religion and Abdel-Fattah makes Islam accessible to people who may not understand it. Being a conservative Christian, I recognized and respect the similarities between the two religions. Some of the characterization is a little heavy handed, but the charm of the book makes that irrelevant. Everyone should read this book to get a look at a culture that is often misunderstood.

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