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Hamra and the Jungle of Memories

Wow! This story (a retelling of little red riding hood!!) captivated me from the very first second and I was so immersed until the very last page!!!❤️

Genre: Upper MG Magical Realism

Ages: 11/12 and up

Author: @hanna.alkaf

Publisher: @harpercollins

Preorder before the March 2023 Pub DATE!! (Preorders help authors!!)

Hamra lives with her family in the Jungle, and her grandmother is starting to forget her because of dementia. Hamra struggles with the feelings of being on lockdown due to Covid, feeling isolated from the world and her front-liner parents, and caring for her aging grandparents.

When she steals a fruit from the jungle, a Were-tiger demands she comes with him on a quest, and claims she can cure her Opah’s dementia if she succeeds.

Accompanied by her best friend Ilyas, Hamra enters the jungle and faces riddles, fairies, fantastical creatures, and her own fears. She has to hold on to friendship and family, and find her courage inside to be able to survive.

Ahhhhh!!! This book truly had me soooooo engrossed and I was flipping page after page of the #arc to find out what happened! The fantasy adventure will be sure to entertain and suck in any young reader and the intricate worldbuilding had me marveling at the storytelling power of the brilliant author!

Islam was present in the book so much- and I LOVED it! Hamra uses her hijab collection to get herself out of tricky situations, she calls on Allah for help, makes duaas, dhikr, prays, recites Quran, etc!

Malaysian culture is always gorgeously represented by this author and this book is no exception!! Malay words are unapologetically written and beautifully blended in the Malaysian setting, with folktales and riddles and songs that truly transport the reader into a new place! So authentic and rich, I was truly blown away!!

I love the lessons of the book, about friendship and family and healing from the isolation of Covid, and I see this being a timeless book that readers will read over and over again, discovering new wonders each time.


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