FICTION

On Point

144p. (Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream: Bk. 2). S. & S./Salaam Reads. May 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781534412026; pap. $6.99. ISBN 9781534412019. POP
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Gr 3–6—Fourth grader Zayd Saleem learns about himself both on and off the basketball court in this second book in the series. Zayd's parents weren't thrilled that he snuck away from violin lessons to play basketball, and now that he's made the team, he's finding out that it's not all sweat and glory. His best friend Adam, grumpy about leading a losing team, joins the football team, and Zayd can't help but see this as a betrayal. Meanwhile, Zayd's cool uncle Jamal Mamoo is engaged, and every family member has different expectations for his Pakistani American wedding. In this tight novel that is fast-paced but never rushed, Khan deftly ties together larger themes of teamwork, friendship, and standing up for oneself in the face of family or community expectations, without distracting from the textured realities of the boy's daily life. In short chapters with accessible vocabulary, this story will appeal to grade-school readers looking for a rousing sports yarn, a touching family story, or an exploration of friendship and conflict. Some may prefer to read the first installment, Power Forward, first, but enough context is given so that this works as a standalone.
VERDICT An excellent sports series for younger middle grade or reluctant readers.

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