– Saadia Faruqi and Shazleen Khan (ill.)-
Published 5 September 2023
Another must-have graphic novel to add to your school library shelves. With themes of racism and environmental conservation, this middle-grade graphic novel is relatable and inspiring and something animal-mad young teen readers will love.
Zara and Zeeshan are siblings but they couldn’t be more different. Zara loves everything to do with animals. Zeeshan has his head firmly in outer space. They argue constantly and drive their parents mad. But they both understand what it’s like to be a Muslim American kid in a world where wearing a hijab or having a name that people struggle to pronounce makes you different. On a trip to Florida recognising their mother’s achievements as a doctor, Zara and Zeeshan have to work together if they are going to have any fun at all. And when things get tough, they might finally realise that they work pretty well together.
Zara’s love of animals take centre stage in the story when she finds a turtle stranded on the beach. She uses all her animal conservation knowledge to help care for it and return it to the wild. She drags a reluctant Zeeshan along with her and they have to work together to help save it, raising important discussions about conservation and looking after the environment and the animals who call it home. Zara and Zeeshan also face micro-aggressions from the people they meet and have to work out what is natural curiosity, what is a harmful comment and how to deal with it, and how to embrace and share their love for their believes and cultures with others.
A sweet and easy-to-love graphic novel.
The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.
Category: Middle-grade fiction, graphic novel
Genre: Animals, Contemporary
Themes: Family, animals, conservation, space, turtles,
Reading age guide: Ages 8 and up.
Published: 5 September 2023 by First Second
Format: Paperback, ebook. 224 pages.