After a demanding semester during which many life decisions were made over many cups of coffee, it’s great to be back on the blog 🙂 If you read my previous post Why I’ve Been Blog-Quiet, you’ll know that this book’s review was set for the presses in February (!). Then, the first of many rattling executive orders from the 45th president was announced. The Muslim Ban, targeting Iranian immigrants among others, was scarily relevant to this book’s protagonist. The event rattled me into a long state of pondering and critical evaluation.
Thanks to encouragement from friends, on and outside the blog world, I’ve decided to finally publish the review. As the work from the semester subsides, I am excited to re-start blogging.
With much love, I share with you a wonderful book:
Pull up a chai and get ready for Intrepid’s first book review for Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed!
Written in the Stars by Aisha Saeed (2015)
First things first: The cover is a gem. A teenage girl with long, dark hair looks wistfully up at a crescent moon. She’s bordered by a stunning, jewel-toned blue and purple pointed arch.
“They will accept us one day,” I insist… “One day, we’ll show them there’s another way to look at all of this. I wasn’t exactly planning to fall for you. I just did. It’s going to happen to them too.”
By the end of senior year, 17-year-old narrator Naila has finally convinced her parents to let her go to college and become a doctor. Her parents, conservative Pakistani immigrants, have let their daughter make more or less her own choices, except for one: Years ago, they told Naila that while she could choose her clothes and her career, they would decide on her husband.
The one knot in the plan is that Naila has already fallen in love with Saif, the dreamy boy on the soccer team, and they have been secretly dating for a year.
When the secret gets out (in a spectacularly nasty blowup), Naila’s parents book a last-minute summer vacation to Pakistan. As the summer passes, Naila becomes slowly aware that her parents have an arranged marriage in mind – and that they don’t plan on her leaving Pakistan anytime soon.
The 6 things that intrigued me from this past week. Read on for diversity in literature news and how schools can support immigrant/first-gen children!
- October is Filipino American History Month! Celebrate with these books by Filipino authors. Look out for Something in Between by Melissa de la Cruz on this blog soon.
- Diverse books meets Netflix: Publishers Weekly reports the We Need Diverse Books organization will soon be launching OurStory, an app that curates #ownvoices stories written from traditionally marginalized perspectives. One of my favorite picture books, Juna’s Jar, is in the database!
- If you’re looking for new ways to visualize “mirrors” and the need for diversity in children’s books, ReadingSpark has a thought-provoking infographic. The illustrations underscore the fact that kids do take notice. So let’s do better!
- A Nashville middle school that specializes in nurturing the needs of recent immigrant students is the topic of this story from Chalkbeat. How do they do it? “Creative teaching,” article explains, so that teachers “aren’t just relying on English to help students master grade-level material.” But isn’t it so that creative, adaptive teaching methods benefit all students?
- I encourage readers from California to consider Proposition 58, which would give schools more freedom to expand bilingual programs for some of the most linguistically diverse kids in the country. So proud of my multilingual home state.
- The latest episode of the This American Life podcast follows a Somali refugee who wins a lottery that could make his dreams of living in the United States come true. Gripping, honest, and told with journalistic integrity above all, “Abdi and the Golden Ticket” invites reflection on the privilege of citizenship, and what it takes to become a naturalized citizen.
A corgi walks onto campus and suddenly life is filled with new meaning. Have a happy Indigenous Peoples Day weekend!