Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Does My Head Look Big In This?

Abdel-Fattah, Randa. 2008. Does My Head Look Big In This? New York: Scholastic  ISBN 978-0439922333

Amal is your typical 11th grader in most ways.  She likes shopping and boys and her friends.  But when she decided to wear the hijab full time and further explore her Muslim faith she must deal with preconceived notions and prejudices. 

Amal is a wonderfully developed character.  Abdel-Fattah has done an excellent job of showing the dynamic between Amal and her family.  The characters interact with each other in a way that is positive and loving and a direct contrast to the issues which she faces from her school.  Further, Abdel-Fattah manages to give information about the Muslim faith without coming across as preachy or boring.  She also manages to point out differences in cultures and home life of Muslims who share a faith, but not everything. 

Amal is forced to examine her own belief system while interacting with the beliefs of others who do not fully understand what it means to her to wear the hijab.  Along the way she makes many typical teenage mistakes such as lying to her parents and unfairly judging others while not wanting to be judged herself.
School Library Journal- While the novel deals with a number of serious issues, it is extremely funny and entertaining, and never preachy or forced.
Booklist-*Starred Review* - Without heavy preaching, the issues of faith and culture are part of the story, from fasting at Ramadan to refusing sex before marriage. More than the usual story of the immigrant teen's conflict with her traditional parents, the funny, touching contemporary narrative will grab teens everywhere.
(starred) "Determined to prove she's strong enough to 'wear a badge of my faith,' Amal faces ostracism and ridicule as she dons her hijab with both good humor and trepidation. . . .
(starred) "Using a winning mix of humor and sensitivity, Abdel-Fattah ably demonstrates that her heroine is, at heart, a teen like any other. This debut should speak to anyone who has felt like an outsider for any reason." --PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
Winner - Australian Book Industry Awards 2006 - Australian Book of the Year for Older Children
Notable Book - Selected as a Notable Book by the Children's Book Council 2006
Long listed for the UK Galaxy Book Awards 2006

Short listed for the Grampian Children’s Book Awards UK 2006

Visit the authors website:

Read other books by Randa Abdel-Fattah
Explore works by Arab Americans such as Naomi Shihab Nye

Learn about different kinds of head scarves worn by Muslim women at

Amal is Australian.  Explore Australia via the internet.  How might Amal's experience have been different if she was American?


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