Written by Hena Khan
A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her family’s vibrant culture while simultaneously blending in at school after tragedy strikes her community.
Primary Source Pairing:
Amina is a regular middle school girl who is navigating the unknown terrain of school, friends, family, culture, religion, and discovering herself. Anima’s uncle visits from Pakistan and helps Anima and her brother prepare for a recitation competition at the Islamic Center where children memorize or read parts of the Quran. The Quran is the central religious text of Islam. At first, Amina doesn’t want to participate, but after vandals break in and cause damage to the Islamic Center, Amina finds her voice and works to make sure the competition can take place.
For this primary source pairing, invite students to analyze the Birmingham Quran manuscript, thought to be one of the oldest in the world. Chapters 19 and 20 are included in this image of a seventh-century Quran.
Questions for Discussion:
- Describe what you see.
- What do you notice first?
- How much of the text can you read?
- What do you see that looks strange or unfamiliar?
- How are the words arranged?
- What do you notice about the page the writing appears on?
- What do you see on the page besides writing?
- What other details can you see?
- What tools and materials were used to create it?
- What can you learn from examining this?
Book Cover and Summary: Follet
Birmingham Quran manuscript: Wikipedia