The books in our classroom libraries can become valuable teaching tools to be used to create a culturally responsive classroom where students feel included and represented. If you’re looking to add to your classroom library, Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan is a book to add to your collection.
Amina and Soojin have been best friends since elementary school. Now in middle school, they face the difficulties of fitting in, merging new and old friendships and staying true to their families’ culture. A complication arises when Soojin starts to hang around with Emily, Amina’s nemesis. Soojin soon wants to change her name to something more American sounding and this ignites jealousy and confusion in Amina. Things are changing too quickly for Amina and she is not sure what to do. The only thing Amina is sure of is her love of singing and playing the piano but she is shy and never has had the confidence to do in public. It is not until the local mosque and Islamic Community Center is vandalized that Amina finds her voice and confidence by helping to rebuild the mosque and unite the community.
Readers can connect with Amina’s journey through middle school during the struggles and triumphs she faces while staying true to her friends, culture and family. Readers will learn about Pakistani and Korean culture, and the similar experiences all children and families face no matter who they are or where they come from.
Lindsay Perez is a guest blogger for Margin Notes who teaches Grade 6 Language Arts at Nashwaaksis Middle school in Fredericton New Brunswick. She is married with two young children Kai (4) and Myla (3).