Zayd’s dream of playing basketball on his school’s A-team clashes with his Muslim family’s goals for him. Ages 6-10
Power Forward (Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream #1) by Hena Khan. Simon & Shuster, 2018, 126 pages.
Reading Level: Chapter Book, ages 7-9
Recommended for: Ages 6-10
Meet Zayd, a third-generation Pakistani-American with a loving Muslim family and a passion for basketball. Unfortunately his ambition for getting on the A team clashes with his mother’s desire that he pursue his talent for the violin. Zayd’s ambitions are more in line with the typical American fifth-grader but his close-knit, traditional-minded family makes it a little horder to follow all the typical American fifth-grade pastimes. His uncle Jamal is on his side, even though Jamal is charting some traditional paths as well–namely, finding with a wife.
The plot of this likeable chapter book is standard, but told with humor and warmth. The glimpse into a Muslim family life (as American as apple pie and paratha) will expand a reader’s perceptions of different cultures. Aside from a language caution (see below), it’s good choice for sports-lovers, boys, and reluctant readers. Volume #2 in the series, On Point, is also available.
Cautions: Language (two misuses of God’s name by teenage sister Zara)
Overall Rating: 3.75 (out of 5)
- Worldview/moral value: 3.5
- Artistic value: 4