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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Review: My Own Special Way by Mithaa Alkayyat, retold by Vivian French

Author: Mithaa Alkayyat
Retold by: Vivian French
Illustrator: Maya Fidawi
Title: My Own Special Way (Early Reader)
Genre: Family story (children's)
Series: no
Publisher: Orion
Published: Mar 2012
Source: kindly sent for review by the publisher

Find it at Amazon UK

The Orion website says:
Hamda feels left out. She wants to be like her four sisters. One evening she makes a decision, and nobody can change her mind. She wants to wear the veil like her sisters. Each sister puts forward her own suggestion based on what worked for her. But it is up to Hamda to work out her own unique way to wear the veil making it a part of her active and happy life.

My verdict: Charming story about being small and wanting to be like older siblings.
Although this story is explicitly focused on Muslim experience (wearing the veil), there is plenty here that is universal, in Hamda's feelings and her relationships within the family. Little Hamda is lively and wants to do what her older sisters do, like making necklaces, going shopping and baking cakes. Hamda decides she wants to be a big girl and realises that wearing the veil when she goes out is a way to achieve this.

As an Early Reader, the story is straightforwardly told, with no excessively long sentences for beginner readers to get lost in. At the same time, it's an interesting enough story to be worth reading and it isn't patronisingly simple. I can also picture UK primary schools using it as a prompt to discuss cultural differences.

It's also illustrated in full colour, with the family wearing boldly patterned and brightly coloured clothes, and the various scarves Hamda tries offering further texture and colour to the visuals. The illustrations have a quirky quality that is appealing and produces endearing characters.

Overall, this is a sweet story about younger children's desire to be more grown up.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for reviewing my book. This is my second book which was first published in Arabic. If you like this book, I would love to hear your review my debut book "I Love My Dad's Long Beard" which can also be found in Amazon UK.


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