Accidental Trouble Magnet
by Mian, Zanib; Mafaridik, Nasaya (ILT)

"Imaginative Omar goes through the ups and downs of starting a new school and making new friends with the help of his wonderful (and silly) Muslim family"-

Zanib Mian was a science teacher before launching a small independent publisher, Muslim Children's Books. Passionate about representation in children's publishing, she is on the panel of judges for the prestigious Young Muslim Writers Awards.

Nasaya Mafaridik is based in Indonesia. Self-taught, she has a passion for children's books and bright, colourful stationery.

*Starred Review* In their #OwnVoices debut, Mian and Mafaridik create a relatable and hilarious story for the elementary-school set. Omar is the middle child of a British Muslim family, and he's feeling anxious about his first day at a new school. Thankfully, he gets seated beside a nice kid named Charlie (instafriend!), but Daniel, the class bully, has his mean eyes on Omar. Outside of school, Omar's family is observing Ramadan, and Omar takes his first crack at fasting, mostly to score bonus points with Allah, which hopefully will get him a prize like a Ferrari! Exploding with personality and imagination, Omar is an easy character to love. His explanations of Muslim faith and culture, such as when and how to pray, his favorite foods to eat (even when they're smelly to cook), and how it's hilarious that non-Muslim people sometimes think his mom never takes off her head scarf, flow naturally through the story. What emerges is the picture of a somewhat harried family that is smart (Omar's parents are scientists) and kind. Doodle illustrations adorn every page, in perfect sync with the story's humorous and dramatic moments. Racist assumptions held by an elderly neighbor and Daniel are excellently handled and evaporate once these characters actually get to know Omar and his family, reinforcing the idea that difference can be a lovely thing. Grades 3-5. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

Omar, a British Pakistani boy, and his family have just moved to a new home in London, where he will be starting at a new school. Omar worries about a lot of things, especially "walking into a brand-new classroom with everyone watching and a teacher who might or might not be an alien zombie." He has a little brother and an older sister, and his mom and dad are both scientists. (Published in the U.K. in 2019, the text has been Americanized for the U.S. edition.) Omar has a huge imagination that helps him get through difficult situations, envisioning, for instance, "a better way to get to school...on a SUPER-Awesome, Magnificent DRAGON." Mafaridik creatively embellishes the text with sketches and a variety of display types. At his new school, Omar makes friends with Charlie but also meets Daniel, a bully. (Both boys present white.) Omar does not tell his mom because he does not want her to worry, instead using humor and creativity to escape Daniel's cruelty. Mian seamlessly weaves Islamic values and teachings through Omar's chatty narration. At prayer in the mosque, "we went into Rukhu. That's when your h ands are on your knees....Then we went into Sujood." These descriptions and definitions are consistent and brief throughout, moving with the flow of the story. While the story's tone is light, anti-Muslim sentiment is acknowledged and integrated into the narrative. Readers will be excited to see where Omar's imagination will take him next. (Fiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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