Fourth-grader Zayd has the passion to make the gold basketball team, but his latest obstacle might make him miss the upcoming tryouts.
Zayd has one goal: to improve his basketball skills in time for the tryouts. His small size is not on his side, but his Pakistani-American family is loving and supportive (with the exception of his annoying older sister), and his best friend is encouraging. Zayd also plays violin in the school orchestra, a commitment of time and money that his parents do not take lightly. When Zayd decides that his rehearsal time would be better spent practicing basketball, two weeks of sneaking about are followed by a harsh punishment when he is discovered: He is not allowed to play, watch, read, or talk about basketball for two weeks—which means no tryouts at all. Will Zayd find a way to achieve his dream? Zayd is a sympathetic protagonist, and his story is told with humor and artfully filled with interesting cultural matter, from his grandmother’s television shows and his grandfather’s games to the family-powered courtship process his uncle goes through. The family dynamics are refreshingly portrayed: Money is a concern; parents are firm though loving; and each generation has a unique perspective. The moral of staying true to yourself and honest with others is easily digested.
Readers will cheer for Zayd and look forward to the next volume. (Fiction. 6-11)