|Ahmed Aziz's epic year|
Author: Hamza, Nina
An Indian American boy endures a family move from Hawaii to frigid Minnesota and, with the help of three life-changing books he reads in school, he learns to like reading, and ultimately, himself.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.80
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 514518
Kirkus Reviews (05/15/21)
School Library Journal (+) (00/05/21)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (00/06/21)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 05/01/2021 Narrated by Ahmed when he’s slightly older but still sarcastic, this debut novel is an affecting reflection on the boy’s tumultuous sixth-grade year. His story begins with a sudden move from Hawaii to Minnesota, where his father can get the risky but lifesaving medical treatment he needs. Compounding an already stressful situation is the fact that Ahmed is the newest target of his class’ bully, the white and überpopular Jack, which Ahmed assumes is due to his brown skin, courtesy of his Indian heritage. Hamza has a lot of nuanced plotlines in play—and she does an admirable job of keeping them all relevant to the main narrative and following them to completion—some of the themes of which are family, finding yourself, faith, dealing with hate crimes, and friendship. A particular touchstone will be the language arts class where Ahmed has a bit of a breakthrough while studying classics many readers will be familiar with. As for Ahmed, he is a kind, intelligent underachiever whom readers will feel for as he struggles and perseveres. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 05/01/2021 Gr 3–7—Ahmed Aziz recalls the year when he was 12 and forced to move from Hawaii, the only home he'd ever known, to his father's hometown in Minnesota so that his father could receive lifesaving medical treatment for a genetic illness. Frustrated by his parents' choice to move to Minnesota and his lack of control over his life, Ahmed reluctantly embraces his new community and faces the looming legacy of his late uncle's life and death. When a neighborhood bully targets him, Ahmed must decide who it is he wants to be; it is an epic year indeed! In this moving and well-paced novel, Hamza sensitively offers a multidimensional portrayal of characters, young and old, and skillfully weaves in a narrative of the power of good teaching and literature. Young readers resistant to reading may relate to Ahmed's initial feelings about books, while fans of the works discussed within (including Louis Sachar's Holes and Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia) will be delighted. References to the family's Indian heritage and Muslim religion are seamlessly interspersed throughout, offering a warm and authentic depiction of an American Muslim family. VERDICT A strong debut destined to become a classic. Recommended for classrooms and libraries of all types, particularly where Zanib Mian's "Planet Omar" series flies off the shelves.—Mahasin A. Aleem, Oakland P.L., CA - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.