Tag Archive | Pakistan

B is for BORN READING: 20 Stories of Women Reading Their Way Into History, by Kathleen Krull & Virginia Loh-Hagan (MG book review) #A2Z

book cover of Born Reading: 20 Stories of Women Reading Their Way Into History, byKathleen Krull & Virginia Loh-Hagan; illustrated by Aura Lewis. Paula Wiseman Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

The skill of reading hasn’t always been taught to girls or encouraged for women, but that didn’t stop those determined to learn!

Meet Wu Zeitan, the first and only woman emperor of China, who promoted reading and education, published books on farming and government, wrote poetry, and created new Chinese written characters.

Get to know E. Pauline Johnson, an Indigenous Canadian poet and performer who was able to lecture and write about her Mohawk and White heritage in the late 1800s when few Indigenous or native voices reached such wide audiences.

Patsy Takemoto Mink didn’t let prejudice against Japanese Americans after World War II stop her from continuing her education, becoming a lawyer, then going into politics to change policies that discriminated against women and people of color. In Congress, she championed Title IX to end gender discrimination in higher education.

You’ll discover more about the reading lives of historical figures Cleopatra, Queen Elizabeth I, Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, Phillis Wheatley Pierce, Chien-Shiung Wu, Indira Gandhi, Shirley Chisholm, and Audre Lorde in this book.

Contemporary women readers chronicled include Temple Grandin, Sally Ride, Oprah Winfrey, Sonia Sotomayor, Serena Williams, Taylor Swift, Mala Yousafzai, Amanda Gorman, and Marley Diaz.

The 20 profiles are followed by sections on Feminist Fun Facts, more Girls with Books, activities to keep you reading, how to access free books, organizations that help girls and children read, and an extensive resource list.

Prolific author Kathleen Krull died in 2021, leaving behind a handful of profiles in the manuscript for this book which was further researched and completed by author and long-time friend Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan.

Kathleen said “Once books change their brains, girls change history.” (page 1)
How will you read your way into history?

Book info: Born Reading: 20 Stories of Women Reading Their Way Into History / written by Kathleen Krull & Virginia Loh-Hagan; illustrated by Aura Lewis. Paula Wiseman Books/ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2023. [Loh-Hagan interview] [illustrator site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

From away to here? LOVE FROM A TO Z, by S. K. Ali (YA book review)

book cover of Love From A to Z, by S.K. Ali, published by Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Hate-filled rhetoric in class – by the teacher!
Unwelcome diagnosis = uncertain future.
This isn’t the time to fall in love, but…

Zayneb clashes with her anti-Muslim teacher one time too many, is suspended from her Indiana high school, and sent early to visit her aunt in Doha for spring break – taking along her marvels and oddities journal – as her friends keep investigating the teacher’s extremist connections.

Adam has dropped out of university in London, devoting every moment to creating before multiple sclerosis robs the feeling from his hands, just as it did for his late mom – now heading home to Dad and little sister in Doha, with his marvels and oddities journal and guitar.

Her aunt and his dad work at the same school, so Zayneb and Adam officially meet each other at a teachers’ party, then socialize with his friends, as a group of course.

Adam keeps his diagnosis secret – how could Dad cope with another loss?
Zayneb mourns for her grandmother – what’s this new news about her death while in Pakistan for a wedding?
Spring break is short – can Adam finish the art installation for his sister before he cannot do anything with his hands?

Long-term, long-distance – their possibility of a forever-relationship might be an oddity or a marvel or impossible…start their story with chapter one, a free excerpt on the publisher’s website.

From the author of Saints and Misfits, which I recommended here.

When have you squeezed much happiness into a small timeframe?

Book info: Love from A to Z / S. K. Ali. Salaam Reads, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

A is Amina’s Voice, by Hena Khan (fiction) – school, mosque, American!

book cover of Amina's Voice by Hana Khan published by Salaam Reads  | recommended on BooksYALove.comSinging her heart out (alone),
Concerned about friends changing,
Trying to fit in, yet stay herself.

Amina has all the middle school worries, plus her slow progress in Arabic and her big brother’s behavior upsetting her Pakistani parents. But what happens to the Islamic Center is so much worse!

Ask for this March 2017 release (first in the new Salaam Reads imprint of Simon & Schuster) at your local library or favorite independent bookstore.

When has your community come together in response to crisis?

Book info: Amina’s Voice / Hena Khan. Salaam Reads/ Simon & Schuster, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Middle school is so confusing for Amina, as her best friend Soojin starts hanging out with the popular girls (they’ve always been so mean!) and her parents expect that she and big brother will excel at the Quran recitation contest (so difficult for her to pronounce Arabic properly).

Add to all this stress one chorus concert (her voice teacher wants her to sing a solo, but Amina is too shy), two times the trouble with fidgety Bradley and mean Emily in their group Oregon Trail project, and three months that her strict uncle from Pakistan will be staying in their suburban Milwaukee home!

When terrible things happen to their beautiful Islamic Center, Amina and her family wonder how their community can recover.

What can one girl do to help?
How brave can she be?

Y is You’re Not Proper, by Tariq Mehmood (book review) – Christian or Muslim? She cannot be both!

book cover of You're Not Proper by Tariq Mehmood published by Hope RoadWhite mother, Pakistani father – who is Kiran?
Hijab-wearer, track star – who is Shamshad?
Tied to the old ways, seeking the new ways – who are they?

Two Pakistani-British teen girls share a school and neighborhood, but not much else until Kiran decides that the Christian church isn’t her place and begins asking Dad about Islam. Shamshad certainly doesn’t want to teach Kiran at the mosque school – her father said to always stay away from that family!

You’ll probably need to ask your local library or independent bookstore to get You’re Not Proper  since it’s a recent release from a small publisher, but you’ll definitely want to read both girls’ views on where religion and teen life can intersect, how life in their crowded London neighborhood is/isn’t good, and how searching for identity can bring uncomfortable insights.

Have you seen prejudice or bullying of those who wear clothing that reflects their faith?

Book info: You’re Not Proper (Striker, book 1) / Tariq Mehmood. Hope Road Publishing, 2015.  [author interview]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Trying to find their place in their British urban school’s pecking order and in a society that distrusts Muslims, Kiran and Shamshad are enemies until a crisis brings the girls closer to understanding one another.

Kiran is uncomfortable at the Christian church she attends with her white mum (who doesn’t even believe) and wonders why her Pakistani dad drinks beer instead of going to mosque.

Shamshad wishes her Pakistani family were a bit more modern, so Father would let her have TV and music in the house. Of course, he is right to warn her away from that mixed-race Kiran girl!

When Kiran decides to wear the hijab and learn more about Islam, Shamshad is furious that her friends want to help – that’s not proper!

A white classmate’s brother serving in the British Army goes missing in Afghanistan, and tensions rise between Christians and Muslims in their town.

Should the girls listen to the young imam with radical ideas?
Why is Kiran’s mom so depressed now and Shamshad’s mother suddenly so outspoken?
What’s the truth about the feud between their families which began back in Pakistan?

Alternating chapters by Kiran and Shamshad unfold the complexities of being different, being accepted, being rejected, and being yourself during troubled current times in their English city. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

World Wednesday (fiction) – Writers from all over

When your mind wanders, where does your imagination take you?

If you really want to go places – without leaving your favorite reading spot – be sure to check out these interesting books written by authors from outside the USA.

Travel back to the time of Scheherazade when Yeats ventures Between Two Ends – magical bookends, that is – to rescue a young girl trapped in her favorite story decades ago, now facing almost-certain death. Canadian author David Ward takes readers far from the Bronze Age Britain setting of his Grassland Trilogy in this exciting tale.

Katherine wants people to see what’s inside her, ignoring her burn scars – can she break free of limitations set by others, like Butterflies burst from their cocoons in the Sydney springtime? A story beyond the usual everyday high school worries, ably written by Australian Susanne Gervay.

French author Guillaume Prevost takes us all over the world, hopscotching across centuries as Sam uses The Book of Time to search for his father and stop a cunning criminal. William Rodarmor translated all 3 books in the series, with its dizzying turns and twists through time.

Amazing determination sets apart young Eon: Dragoneye Reborn from others competing to become Dragoneye apprentice. Courage and loyalty in the face of massive psychic and physical peril keeps Eona and her country alive in this adventure duology by Australian author Alison Goodman.

Berlin during the waning days of the Great War was an increasingly dangerous place, as Socialist demonstrators clashed with police and wounded German soldiers returning from the front lines told truths that the government would not let newspapers publish – German author and international schools teacher Monika Schroeder brings us young Moritz’ perspective in My Brother’s Shadow.

Japanese mythology collides with modern life in London as Miku and her friend Cait race to save the teen’s baby brother from evil Takeshita Demons who have followed her family from Osaka. Australian author Cristy Burne sent me a tweet to say that books 2 & 3 in the series are now available in the US.

Living in London and going to school is much better than staying in their tiny Pakistani village for Halima, but the threat of an arranged marriage and no further education sends her running. The Payback promised by the groom’s family will end her hopes of choosing her own Muslim husband and could end her life! British author Rosemary Hayes says only the names are fictional in this story.

Perhaps Mercy is the ultimate exchange student, flung from heaven to earth, suddenly awakening in someone else’s body (with their mind riding shotgun), on a mission to stop a crime – when she doesn’t know what it is yet! First in series by Australian author Rebecca Lim – Exile (book 2) and Muse (book 3) are already published, with Fury on the 2012 horizon.

Please do look for these fine books at your library or independent bookstore as you support the local institutions that take our imaginations everywhere! And click Non-US Authors in the Labels section on the right for these and other great books by writers who bring us different perspectives and other dreams.

sitting on my Florida porch, wondering if those sunset clouds will ever bring us rain

Payback (fiction)

There are laws against forced marriage in England.
But if Halima returns to Pakistan with the family for her brother’s wedding…

On this World Wednesday, we see today’s England through the eyes of a young teen girl who emigrates to London from rural Pakistan with her family.

There, dusty roads and the rules of village elders. Here, motorcars and subways, small enclaves of immigrants clustered together against the big city, speaking their native languages in neighborhood shops.

There, all marriages are arranged by family. Here, young men and women meet people outside their clan, outside their region, outside their religion.

Halima is not trying to rebel for the sake of rebellion, but she does want the opportunity to choose a Muslim husband on her own, not be promised to someone far away as mere repayment of a debt.

Rosemary Wells’ excels at putting real-life situations at the heart of her books – grab Payback today at your local library or independent bookstore and read another story behind the headlines.

Book info: Payback / Rosemary Hayes. Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, 2009. [author’s website] [publisher site]

Recommendation: When Halima’s father whisks their family from rural Pakistan to London, she worries – will he truly allow her to finish school there before arranging a marriage? In the village, he’s an important landowner who has worked overseas for years to send money back home; in London, he’s just another immigrant laborer who speaks English poorly and clings to old customs.

It’s difficult, going to middle school understanding so little English – if only Ammi had allowed Halima and her older sister to watch the village leader’s satellite television to hear the language! Their brothers had moved to London earlier with Baba, so they know the language and the subway and everything.

Thankfully, there are other Pakistani girls at her school and teachers who patiently help all the immigrating students learn English. Meeting boisterous red-headed Kate at high school helps Halima bloom, as the friends join the debate society and try to understand each other’s world.

But things aren’t smooth at home, as Baba continues to control his sons’ lives, as Ammi counts on her daughters as translators, as the parents begin to arrange marriages as if the family was still in Pakistan.

When Halima finds out that she was promised in marriage years ago by Baba to settle a debt, she decides that her future belongs to her. Can she really leave her family? Can she run far enough away to escape their control? How far will her Baba’s sense of family honor push him to find her?

Halima’s struggle to honor her Muslim heritage while continuing her education is based on a true story of forced marriage and kidnapping in England today. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy courtesy of the publisher.