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Ahmed Aziz's Epic Year

This book had me laughing and smiling the whole time I was reading it!!

Genre: upper MG

Ages: 11-15

Available: Amazon @happystreet_store@muslim.memories

Screening: some mentions of music/piano, brief mention of Christmas movies/driving to see lights but its emphasized the family celebrates the two Eids and not Christmas, a birthday mentioned.

Ahmed’s family is moving from Hawaii to Minnesota because his dad is sick and he needs special medical care there. Ahmed has to deal with adjusting to a new state, new school…and a bully. Jack the bully is out to make Ahmed’s life miserable, but when he takes a photo of Ahmed entertaining his little sister with dancing to get her mind off of Ahmed’s dad getting sicker, Ahmed stands up for himself. And just like the characters in the English books he is reading, he gets stronger and more confident…

Islam is mentioned a lot- he states they are muslim right off, mentions Eid as when they gave neighbors biryani, no pork/pepperoni is eaten, assalamu Alaikum is said, mosque attended, friday prayer is the only prayer for dad, but his mother prayes five times a day and Athan clock is mentioned, athan is said to be done in baby’s ear when she/he is born, jumah prayer as being crowded, and the angels on the shoulders who record deeds.

Ahmed’s background is Desi, he eats biryani and other Desi foods and he recognizes his mom and dad’s parents as originally from India and mentions his mother’s memories.

I really enjoyed seeing Ahmed mature throughout the book and make new friends. His often times sarcastic comments made me laugh out loud and his sort of attitude-filled voice throughout the book was very fun to read and felt authentic to a tween/teen boy.

I liked how a side character, Ari, was in a wheelchair but didn’t let it stop him. The bully was not one dimensional, he was shown as fully full of flaws and yet the reader and Ahmed feel sorry for the difficulties he faces while moving on from his problems. The literature aspect of the books and English class made for an extra thrill (I always love discussing books in actual books lol).

Def a good read!

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