Amina's Voice

4 CDs. 4:15 hrs. Recorded Bks. Aug. 2017. $46.75. ISBN 9781501971945. digital download.
Gr 4–6—When 11-year-old Amina starts middle school, she feels pressure to reinvent herself. Amina and her family are Pakistani Americans, and their Muslim faith is the foundation of their lives. But Amina also loves music, especially singing and playing the piano. When her traditionally minded uncle visits from Pakistan, Amina overhears him saying that music is haram, or forbidden. Finding her voice becomes even harder, especially since Amina had been considering trying out for a solo in the chorus concert. Instead, her family signs Amina up for the Quran competition at the local Islamic Center. When it is vandalized, Amina's faith is shaken, but thanks to the support of her friends and the greater community, she is able to find acceptance and her own voice in unique ways. Narrator Soneela Nankani infuses Amina's character with the right blend of curiosity, hesitation, and resilience, and her subtle voice shifts ensure each character has a unique identity.
VERDICT This realistic story of self-discovery and acceptance will be a strong addition to middle grade collections.

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