Representation matters; it's important that we see more characters in media that reflect the diversity in the World. April is Arab-American Heritage Month and we'd like to introduce you to some amazing authors who are creating coming-of-age stories that speak to all teens.
It's 2002, a year after 9/11. It's an extremely turbulent time politically, but especially so for someone like Shirin, a sixteen-year-old Muslim girl who's tired of being stereotyped. Shirin is never surprised by how horrible people can be. She's tired of the rude stares, the degrading comments-even the physical violence-she endures as a result of her race, her religion, and the hijab she wears every day. So she's built up protective walls and refuses to let anyone close enough to hurt her. Instead, she drowns her frustrations in music and spends her afternoons break-dancing with her brother.
But then she meets Ocean James. He's the first person in forever who really seems to want to get to know Shirin. It terrifies her-they seem to come from two irreconcilable worlds-and Shirin has had her guard up for so long that she's not sure she'll ever be able to let it down.
Zafira is the Hunter, disguising herself as a man when she braves the cursed forest of the Arz to feed her people. Nasir is the Prince of Death, assassinating those foolish enough to defy his autocratic father, the sultan. If Zafira was exposed as a girl, all of her achievements would be rejected; if Nasir displayed his compassion, his father would punish him in the most brutal of ways. Both Zafira and Nasir are legends in the kingdom of Arawiya-but neither wants to be.
War is brewing, and the Arz sweeps closer with each passing day, engulfing the land in shadow. When Zafira embarks on a quest to uncover a lost artifact that can restore magic to her suffering world and stop the Arz, Nasir is sent by the sultan on a similar mission: retrieve the artifact and kill the Hunter. But an ancient evil stirs as their journey unfolds-and the prize they seek may pose a threat greater than either can imagine.
"Arab America is a national media organization founded with the purpose of promoting an accurate image of the Arab American community and the Arab world." ( www.arabamerica.com 2021)
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#KEEP READING: For more books by Arab-American authors about Arab-American situations, check out these selections