Children & Teens Books of the Week
The first of a great new early chapter series, Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun (Salaam Reads, $6.99) by Hena Khan has a Ramona Quimby vibe set in a multigenerational Pakistani-American family living in Maryland. 10-year-old Zara is the self-proclaimed ring leader of the neighborhood kids and has plenty of ideas (and rules) for having fun. When her favorite elderly neighbor retires to Florida she worries about who will move into his house and how things might change on their street. The good news is that it’s a family, but much to Zara’s irritation the new girl has a lot of big new ideas for the neighborhood, too. Hena Khan’s engaging read reminds us that new friends can not only challenge us but sometimes bring out the best in us. Ages 7-10. Heidi Ashton Yoon
Every morning the hot sun greets Samira as she hauls her bucket of hard-boiled eggs down to the beach to sell to tourists. Escaping Burma in the middle of the night for Bangladesh changed everything, and this new life is a series of never-ending adjustments in Rukhsanna Guidroz’s Samira Surfs ($17.99, Kokila). Sneaking away to learn snippets of English with her brother is one of the only escapes Samira has, until she starts to overcome her fear of the water. Crossing the river and leaving her family and the familiarity of home took everything from her, but learning to surf and teaching the other girls selling their wares in Cox's Bazar to swim provides a sense of community and companionship that has been missing since leaving her home in Burma. Ages 8-12. Emma Bohrer
Debating Darcy (Scholastic, $18.99) is a modern, South Asian American reinterpretation of Pride and Prejudice that covers issues like classism and sexism with humor and wit. Leela Bose is the woman to beat in the world of high school forensics. Firoze Darcy, a debater from an elitist private school, thinks differently. Leela plans to trounce him in the state competitions, switching to his debate category so they can face off and she can prove once and for all that women are more powerful than men. But as she learns more about her rival, the stakes become complex and Leela must challenge her assumptions. Sayantani Dasgupta writes an invigorating take on an Austen classic. Ages 13+. Brandi Rose.