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The Garden of My Imaan
Cover of The Garden of My Imaan
The Garden of My Imaan
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Aliya already struggles with trying to fit in, feeling confident enough to talk to the cute boy, or brave enough to stand up to mean kids-the fact that she's Muslim is just another part of her life....
Aliya already struggles with trying to fit in, feeling confident enough to talk to the cute boy, or brave enough to stand up to mean kids-the fact that she's Muslim is just another part of her life....
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Description-

  • Aliya already struggles with trying to fit in, feeling confident enough to talk to the cute boy, or brave enough to stand up to mean kids-the fact that she's Muslim is just another part of her life. But then Marwa, a Moroccan girl who shares Aliya's faith, if not her culture, moves to town. Marwa's quiet confidence leads Aliya to wonder even more about who she is, what she believes, and where she fits in. In a series of letters to Allah she writes for a Sunday school project, Aliya explores her dreams and fears, hoping that with hard work and faith, something beautiful will grow in the garden of imaan-the small quiet place inside where belief unfolds, one petal at a time.

About the Author-

  • Farhana Zia is an elementary school teacher who grew up in Hyderabad, India. Her stories blend humor and tradition, memories and contemporary moments. Her first picture book, Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-Ji, received a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. She lives in Massachusetts.

Reviews-

  • DOGO Books edmodo-hyvucjc5em - Good book I am the only muslim at my school myself so I know what it feels like.It is a tough life you can't eat pepperoni and all that. When I read the book I cryed all night knowing that that is how my life is.
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 18, 2013
    Aliya is an Indian-American Muslim preteen trying to make her way through school and life, riding the various divides between the conservative and liberal interpretations of her religion, standing up to the school bully, working up the nerve to talk to her crush and to run for student council, all while dealing with her annoying younger brother and fasting for Ramadan during Thanksgiving. Aliya’s world is turned upside down with the arrival of Marwa, a Moroccan girl who wears a hijab and seems to fast every day of Ramadan with ease. Embarrassed by Marwa, Aliya starts writing letters to Allah in this modern homage to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. Zia (Hot, Hot Roti for Dada-Ji) has deep insight into adolescent Muslim life and capably handles diversity within American Islam. She provides one of the better representations of the matriarchy of South Asian families in her depiction of Aliya’s home life—with the strong presence of her mother, grandmother, and even great-grandmother—and seamlessly weaves the Urdu language into her story. Ages 8–12. Agent: Jennifer Unter, the Unter Agency.

  • Kirkus

    April 1, 2013
    While inviting comparison to Judy Blume's seminal Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret, this likable tale of an Indian-American girl who fears drawing attention from those hostile toward Muslims focuses on the social consequences of religious identity, rather than faith itself. With Ramadan fast approaching, Sister Khan asks Aliya's religion class to set Ramadan goals and write about what they learn. She expects Aliya to fast not just weekends but weekdays. (Aliya's loving, supportive family leaves the decision to her.) Like Margaret before her, Aliya pours out her worries and frets over her late puberty in letters to Allah. Her friend Amal has gotten her period and started covering her head. Asked to befriend a Moroccan girl at her public school who wears hijab and fasts during Ramadan, Aliya's first annoyed, then intrigued at how Marwa finds a place for herself without sacrificing her religious principles. If the downside of open observance is clear to readers, the beliefs and intentions underlying these religious observances, especially hijab, are not. Hijab's part of her, Marwa says vaguely. "I feel natural in it." For Aliya's mother, who doesn't wear it, "hijab is a symbol of modesty--a good symbol but a figurative one." Omissions aside, Zia's gentle message--that Muslims come from many cultures whose observances differ, while the long shadow of 9/11 hovers over all--is timely and beautifully conveyed. (Fiction. 8-12)

    COPYRIGHT(2013) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • School Library Journal

    June 1, 2013

    Gr 4-7-Aliya is worried about fitting in at her New England school for many reasons. Other girls go to parties and talk about boyfriends, but her family is Muslim, so the fifth grader has to think about how these things do or don't fit in with what her religion teaches. Will the other kids notice when she fasts for Ramadan? What type of reaction might she face if she decides to wear the hijab? With Ramadan approaching, her teacher at the Islamic Center tells her to communicate with Allah, and taking the advice of her great-grandmother, Aliya decides to write letters to Allah explaining her concerns. As the year progresses, Aliya works at understanding herself and her faith, and with the support of a new Muslim classmate, she comes to appreciate her many blessings and her identity. The author recognizes the diversity of the Muslim population (Aliya's family is from India, while the new girl is from Morocco); however, the book is definitely slanted toward a more conservative Islamic viewpoint, particularly with regard to the hijab. Aliya mentions that her mother feels that Muslim women can be modest without covering up, and a classmate at the Islamic Center discusses how her parents are not happy about her decision to wear the hijab, but these ideas are not explored further. The novel is at its best when depicting Aliya's interactions with her grandmother and great-grandmother as well as comic incidents such as a halal turkey mix-up at Thanksgiving dinner. This would be a good addition for libraries serving Muslim populations; it also might be of interest to non-Muslim readers wanting to find out more about the religion's everyday life and practices.-Kathleen E. Gruver, Burlington County Library, Westampton, NJ

    Copyright 2013 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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    Peachtree Publishers
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