An exciting #OwnVoices middle-grade debut starring a Muslim boy with a huge imagination
Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar!
Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?!
But when Omar makes a new best friend, things start looking up. That is, until a Big Mean Bully named Daniel makes every day a nightmare! Daniel even tells Omar that all Muslims are going to be kicked out of the country . . . Could that possibly be true?
Luckily, Omar's enormous imagination and goofy family help him get through life's ups and downs.
Omar's funny, relatable narrative is the perfect answer to the call for both mirrors and windows to fill bookshelves with diverse stories.
Originally released in the U.K. as The Muslims, Mian's middle grade debut features some stock elements: after his family moves, Omar fears he won't make friends at his new school and that his teacher will be a space alien, is vexed that he's targeted by bully Daniel, and gets frustrated that his teenage sister has become a "snitch." In Omar's daily life and close-knit Muslim family, religion plays a focal role. His narrative incidentally relays--with readers and with his new friend, Charlie--the prayers his family says daily; fasting, feasting, and other rituals of Ramadan; and his scientist mother's commitment to wearing hijab. Mian also credibly integrates Omar's hurtful experiences with prejudice, as when Daniel tells the boy that "the worst thing about you" is "You're Muslim.... You better go back to your country before we kick you all out" (Daniel adjusts his attitude and Omar learns the genesis of Daniel's bitterness). Yet the dominant tone of wildly imaginative Omar's free-association narrative, laced with expressive hand lettering and Mafaridik's playfully exaggerated line art, remains chipper and uplifting. Ages 8-12. (Feb.)Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
Gr 3-6—When Omar's family moves to a new house, that means the 10-year-old must start the year at a new school. Omar is nervous because he thinks he will stand out as the new kid and because he is Muslim. Luckily for Omar, he has a great teacher and makes a new friend, Charlie, right away. But Omar and Charlie become the target of a bully, Daniel, who seems to dislike Omar for no other reason than he is Muslim. Daniel even goes as far as saying that all Muslims will be kicked out of the country. When Omar and Daniel are thrown together into a scary situation, the boys learn more about each other and realize that maybe they don't have to be enemies. Told from Omar's point of view, the playful text is bolstered with illustrations throughout that show off his creativity and imagination. VERDICT A great #OwnVoices story for children to learn more about connection and empathy.—Jayna Ramsey, Douglas County Libraries in Parker, COCopyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.