Does My Head Look Big In This?
by Abdel-Fattah, Randa






Year eleven at an exclusive prep school in the suburbs of Melbourne, Australia, would be tough enough, but it is further complicated for Amal when she decides to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time as a badge of her faith-without losing her identity or sense of style. Reprint.





Randa Abdel-Fattah is an attorney, a writer, a chocoholic, and an active member in the interfaith community, as well as the campaign for Palestinian human rights. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novels DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? and TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT ME, both published by Orchard Books. She is also the author of the forthcoming middle-grade novel, WHERE THE STREETS HAD A NAME, published by Scholastic Press. Ms. Abdel-Fattah lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and their children.





*Starred Review* Like the author of this breakthrough debut novel, Amal is an Australian-born, Muslim Palestinian "whacked with some seriously confusing identity hyphens." At 16, she loves shopping, watches Sex and the City, and IMs her friends about her crush on a classmate. She also wants to wear the hijab, to be strong enough to show a badge of her deeply held faith, even if she confronts insults from some at her snotty prep school, and she is refused a part-time job in the food court (she is "not hygienic"). Her open-minded observant physician parents support her and so do her friends, Muslim, Jewish, Christian, secular. Her favorite teacher finds her a private space to pray. The first-person present-tense narrative is hilarious about the diversity, and sometimes heartbreaking. For her uncle who wants to assimilate, "foreign" is the f-word, and his overdone Aussie slang and flag-waving is a total embarrassment. On the other hand, her friend Leila nearly breaks down when her ignorant Turkish mom wants only to marry her daughter off ("Why study?") and does not know that it is Leila's Islamic duty "to seek knowledge, to gain an education." Without heavy preaching, the issues of faith and culture are part of the story, from fasting at Ramadan to refusing sex before marriage. More than the usual story of the immigrant teen's conflict with her traditional parents, the funny, touching contemporary narrative will grab teens everywhere. Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.





An "Australian-Muslin-Palestinian" teen opts to wear the hijab, the Muslim head scarf, full-time, embarking on a courageous exercise in self-understanding. Sixteen-year-old Amal attends an elite prep school in a Melbourne suburb. Poised to begin the third term of 11th grade, Amal admits, "it's hard enough being an Arab Muslim at a new school," but "shawling up is just plain psychotic." Determined to prove she's strong enough to "wear a badge of my faith," Amal faces ostracism and ridicule as she dons her hijab with both good humor and trepidation. Supported by her parents, Amal spurns racial epithets like "towel head" and discovers her friends still accept her for who she is, not what she wears. As the term progresses, Amal's friends face their own issues of self-worth while her faith is tested when she falls in love with a non-Muslim classmate. Wearing the hijab full-time shuts some doors, but opens others for Amal as she emerges a bright, articulate heroine true to herself and her faith. Abdel-Fattah's fine first novel offers a world of insight to post-9/11 readers. (Fiction. 13-18) Copyright Kirkus 2007 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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