Before this year, I never read middle grade books. Being in my mid-20’s, I knew I was well beyond the target audience for YA; I felt way too old for middle grade books, felt like it would be too juvenile, felt like it wouldn’t be something I’d like. I was a massive skeptic. And then I read Flying Lessons and Other Stories.
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.
Books like Amina’s Voice are the reason why I started reading diverse middle-grade books. There is something so delightful and special about these books that capture the innocence, optimism, and wonder of children and their stories.