CM . . .
. Volume XXIV Number 39. . . .June 8, 2018
Sadia Faruqi. Art by Hatem Aly.
North Mankato, MN: Picture Window Books/Capstone, August 1, 2018.
96 pp., trade pbk. & eBook, $7.95 (pbk.).
ISBN 978-1-68436-022-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-68436-024-6 (eBook).
Grades 1-3 / Ages 6-8.
Review by Meredith Cleversey.
Reviewed from Advance Reading Copy.
One afternoon Yasmin sat reading with Baba.
"A long time ago, explorers used big paper maps to find their way," Baba said.
"What's an explorer?" asked Yasmin.
"Someone who discovers new places. An adventurer," Baba said.
Yasmin looked at the maps in Baba's book. There were straight roads and curvy roads. There were lakes and rivers and forests.
"I want to be an explorer!" she said.
"Well, then, the first thing you'll need is a map," Baba replied.
Yasmin clapped her hands. "I'll make a map of our neighborhood."
Meet Yasmin! is an early reader about a Pakistani American girl with a knack for creative problem-solving. Yasmin is an explorer, a painter, a builder, and even a fashionista as she plays with her friends and family, encountering difficulties and resolving issues in her own, unique way.
This is a fun early reader, great for kids interested in strong female characters having realistic adventures. The book is divided into four sections, and each individual story is broken into three chapters. In each story, Yasmin starts a new project or activity before being faced with a problem that she must figure out how to resolve. In "Yasmin the Explorer", Yasmin draws a map and must eventually use it when she finds herself lost in a busy marketplace. In "Yasmin the Painter", Yasmin struggles to create a painting for a class competition. In "Yasmin the Builder", Yasmin ponders how she can contribute to a school project. And in "Yasmin the Fashionista", Yasmin and her Nani dress up for a fashion show.
The problems and solutions presented in Meet Yasmin! are simple and relatable to kids Yasmin's age. Although some of the stories could have been given stronger resolutions (in "Yasmin the Fashionista", for instance, Yasmin mends her mother's ripped kameez with a glue gun), other stories in the collection have very creative and satisfactory endings. When her class is tasked with building a model city in "Yasmin the Builder", Yasmin can't decide what to contribute. Her friends build castles, churches, and schools, and Yasmin feels like a failure because she cannot think of her own building to add to the city. Ultimately, however, Yasmin realizes that the best addition for her to make is not a building at all, but rather sidewalks and bridges connecting all of the other buildings together, thus making the model city a true community place.
Meet Yasmin! also does a great job of incorporating the main character's Pakistani American heritage in small ways throughout the stories. Yasmin's mother is seen both in and out of her hijab, and in "Yasmin the Fashionista", Yasmin admires and tries on various shawls, saris, and even a new kameez. Yasmin also refers to her family members by their informal Urdu titles (including Baba for her father and Nani for her grandmother), and these, along with other Urdu words featured in the text, are defined at the back of the book. This back section of Meet Yasmin! also includes facts about Pakistan and even has a Pakistani recipe readers can try.
With expressive illustrations by Hatem Aly, short, easy to read chapters, and a main character with a plucky personality and strong problem-solving skills, Meet Yasmin! is a good choice for early readers in search of a contemporary story full of realistic adventures and a lot of fun.
Meredith Cleversey, a librarian in Cambridge, ON, loves to read, write, and live in a world of pure imagination.
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