Captivating and uplifting.

An anthology of short stories, poems, and collages by 10 American Muslim teens.

A project of the nonprofit Next Wave Muslim Initiative, this collection presents the work of young people who reflect on their experiences as members of a marginalized and misunderstood faith coming-of-age in the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. Iman Ilias’ “How To Be a 14-Year-Old Paki Muslim American Girl” and Leyla Rasheed’s “Moments I Remember I’m Muslim” unpack the social pressures on Muslim teens to simultaneously fit in and retain their sense of self. “Kabob Squad Takes Down Propaganda Man: (A Concept for the TV Show I Needed as a Kid),” by Samaa Eldadah and Fatima Rafie, and “Hyphen,” a poem by Noor Saleem, both address representation and identity. Other themes explored include relationships to prayer, perceptions of the hijab, and what it’s like to be an observant Muslim guitarist navigating the American teen party scene. Readers seeking a sociological account of the persecution of American Muslims will have to look elsewhere. This volume focuses instead on the creative minds of Muslim American youths themselves, opening a window into the complexity of their lived realities as teens in today’s America. The varied text layouts, font styles, and exceptional art enhance the reading experience. The book features a foreword by Pakistani American children’s author Hena Khan. The contributors are diverse in ethnicity, race, and sect.

Captivating and uplifting. (Anthology. 12-adult)

Pub Date: May 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-945434-93-8

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Shout Mouse Press

Review Posted Online: Sept. 9, 2019



An innovative and accessible writing guide for students.

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An updated writing manual encourages teenagers to improve their skills.

Speaking specifically to a teen audience, veteran prose guru Peha (Be a Writer, 2006, etc.) seeks to demystify the writing process by making it as approachable as possible. He doesn’t even expect his audience to peruse the whole thing. Readers are encouraged to skip around among the book’s many topics, which include instructions for prose genres as disparate as fiction, academic essays, and personal narratives. “Find a section that interests you,” urges Peha in the first chapter, “spend some time reading it, then use what you learn in your writing right away.” The structure of the book is reflective of this attitude, which is central to the author’s message: readers don’t need to know everything about composition to be accomplished writers. Even if they learn only one new skill and apply it to their own work, it will immediately make them better writers. But Peha offers many tips in this volume. His techniques run the gamut of writing-related strategies, from selecting a topic and organizing thoughts to making stronger arguments and revising a work through better word choices. The book includes axioms (write what you know), twists on conventional wisdom (show and tell), and new bits of advice that even veterans may not have come across before (“Get better faster by finishing many short pieces instead of a few long ones”). Exercises, author interviews, and asides from Peha’s co-writer, Lester (Be a Better Writer, 2006, etc.), round out this comprehensive manual. As one would hope, Peha’s fluid, engaging prose zips across the page: “I try to revise transition words and phrases out of my writing. This cuts down my word count and makes my writing crisper.” The book is calibrated to a teen audience not just in the direct, conversational nature of the prose, but also in the busy, eye-catching way that it is organized. As the author reminds the audience early on, “These days, especially, readers don’t want to read any more than they have to.” The volume mimics a textbook, with quick sections, frequent breaks, numbered lists, font changes, information in the margins, and many examples. While the work may appear chaotic and antsy at first glance, the reader quickly realizes how impeccable the format and presentation actually are. More impressive still is the content, which dives deep into the minutiae of writing to make sure that the reader truly understands not just what structures are operating, but how and why they function. One suggested activity is crafting a passage with no punctuation to force the student to choose words that will communicate their meaning even in the absence of periods and commas. This combination of out-of-the-box thinking and the traditional tactics of composition makes Peha’s work a solid choice for any teen attempting to get a handle on that big, mysterious practice known as writing.

An innovative and accessible writing guide for students.

Pub Date: April 20, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9972831-0-5

Page Count: 376

Publisher: Teaching That Makes Sense

Review Posted Online: Oct. 4, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2017



A needed and worthy addition to any folklore collection.

Mexican-American Pura Belpré honoree Bowles (Chupacabra Vengeance, 2017, etc.) brings his passion and expertise to this new compilation of mythological tales from Mexico.

Beginning, as so many mythologies do, before the foundation of the world, Bowles weaves a chronological tale of creation and destruction, death and resurrection drawn from Mesoamerican sources. Early tales explore the failed attempts of humanity under the blazing sun or in terrifying darkness. Though human beings tenaciously gain a lasting foothold in a sea-ringed world, conflict and toil persist. The narrative continues through early pre-Columbian history and on through the Mayan and finally the Aztec empires as Bowles adds threads from Mayan, Toltec, Mixtec, and other Indigenous folklore traditions. From deep cenotes to frost-covered mountains, there are few hopeful or happy endings to be found. Rather, the specters of death, violence, vengeance, and blood sacrifice are ever present, which may turn away readers with less stomach for gore, though the mayhem is rarely gratuitous. Despite the darkness that pervades most of the tales, Bowles’ dense yet lyrical prose raises the narrative to a level suited to high mythological tradition and illuminates the foundations on which contemporary Mexican culture is laid. Though an index is sorely needed, students of folklore will find a rich trove to mine here.

A needed and worthy addition to any folklore collection. (pronunciation guide, glossary, source notes, bibliography) (Mythology. 14-adult)

Pub Date: March 13, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-941026-71-7

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Cinco Puntos Press

Review Posted Online: April 2, 2018

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