Saadia Faruqi has done an amazing job creating Yamin, a Pakistani-American 2nd grader who has already won the hearts of OQS’s students.
Spirited, smart, and spunky, Yamin tackles everyday problems that my students relate to, like getting lost at the park or feeling insecure to create art for the art show, and Hatem Aly’s illustrations draw the reader right in!
What I love about Yasmin is the way that her story seamlessly introduces Pakinstani and Muslim culture in a way that my students have pretty much never seen before. There is even a glossary in the back of unfamiliar Urdu words like hijab, fun facts about Pakistan, and a craft project.
Introducing characters like Yasmin and her family offers readers new things to think and talk about, which pairs perfectly with my students’ genuine curiosity and interest to learn more about the world and the diverse people in it. I love the significant roles Yamin’s nana (her grandfather) and nani (grandmother) play in the story as well. With the world facing more divisiveness than inclusion lately, it’s more important than ever to provide students windows into other cultures, especially when they show how much alike we all are!
After reading only two chapters, my students were asking if I had any more books about Yasmin! Although my book budget has already been used for this year, undoubtedly we will see more of Yasmin in the fall!
We can’t wait!