Monday, February 17, 2020

MORE TO THE STORY by Hena Khan


I just loved this book! After I read it, I learned that it’s a re-imagining of the classic, Little Women. Except in this version, there are four sisters in a Muslim, Pakistani American family.


Description from the publisher

When Jameela Mirza is picked to be feature editor of her middle school newspaper, she’s one step closer to being an award-winning journalist like her late grandfather. The problem is her editor-in-chief keeps shooting down her article ideas. Jameela’s assigned to write about the new boy in school, who has a cool British accent but doesn’t share much, and wonders how she’ll make his story gripping enough to enter into a national media contest.

Jameela, along with her three sisters, is devastated when their father needs to take a job overseas, away from their cozy Georgia home for six months. Missing him makes Jameela determined to write an epic article—one to make her dad extra proud. But when her younger sister gets seriously ill, Jameela’s world turns upside down. And as her hunger for fame looks like it might cost her a blossoming friendship, Jameela questions what matters most, and whether she’s cut out to be a journalist at all…

More to the Story by Hena Khan was published by Salaam Reads, a division of Simon and Schuster, in 2019.


Why you want to read this book:
What I loved most about this story were the strong, believable characters and the way the family sticks together no matter what.  It was so interesting to have a glimpse into Jameela’s family and their culture. I felt like I was experiencing everything right along with Jameela. This is a story with a lot of heart.

Opening:

“This is the worst Eid ever!” Aleeza flops onto the sofa and grabs the TV remote.


If you’re a writer…

You might want to read this and think about how the author develops characters through small interactions with the other characters in the story, and by sharing her thoughts and feelings. I also liked the way the author introduced important topics like microaggression and digital media use naturally within the context of the story.


If you’re an educator…

This would be a lovely, but quieter book to recommend for readers who are interested in family stories. There are lots of ways for readers to connect to the story through typical middle grade issues of friendship, crushes and conflict between kids in a school club. A great book to add if you’re trying to broaden your collection of diverse stories.

  
If you’re looking for more middle grade books to read, check out Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on Greg Pattridge's blog.

7 comments:

  1. I loved this book too when I read it (just before I saw Little Women). Even though there are parallels, both books stand on their own, don't you think?

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  2. I've had this one on my reading radar for some time now. Your review made it much more appealing to me. Thanks for featuring on MMGM. I'll get to it hopefully by the summer!

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  3. Ooh, I like Hena Kahn's novels. I like that she re-imagined "Little Women" into a middle eastern story. Don't know how I've missed this release! Thanks for your thoughtful review and your comments to writers and educators.

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  4. I also loved this book for all the reasons you mentioned. Great characters and story! Glad to see the word being spread.

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  5. I hadn't heard of this one before. It sounds like it is well written and the characters sound interesting too. Great cover. I will be adding this one to my list. Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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  6. As a fan of 'Little Women' since I was a middle-grader myself, this book has special appeal to me. Thanks for sharing it with us for MMGM, Andrea.

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  7. I've seen this one somewhere else and the Little Women connection has me very intrigued to find a copy!

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