In this second installment of the Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream series, Zayd navigates challenging times on his new basketball team and changing relationships with both his best friend and his favorite uncle.
Pakistani-American fourth-grader Zayd has made it to the elite gold team, but now the team is losing games. His best friend, Adam, whom Zayd loves playing with, is losing interest in basketball and is acting different. Zayd’s uncle Mamoo is also less fun to be around; he’s at the center of plans for his upcoming wedding, which is all anyone at home talks about. The family holds planning meetings and dinners, and they travel out of state to shop for the wedding in Edison, a “Little Pakistan”–like town in New Jersey. When Adam misses basketball practice, the coach puts Zayd on point guard. Zayd is not sure he can do it, but the harder he works, the more his confidence and abilities grow. He even shares some lessons from basketball with his uncle and soon-to-be aunt about taking charge while being a team player. Khan stays firmly in Zayd’s perspective while keeping the many elements of his life—family, friends, and passions—in focus too. With just enough action to keep readers turning the pages and a sprinkle of age-appropriate realizations throughout, this small book is a great pick for elementary-age readers. Players on Zayd’s team are diverse; Adam is Jewish.
A delightful follow-up from a writer who understands children, family, and culture. (Fiction. 7-10)