cover image Saving Sunshine

Saving Sunshine

Saadia Faruqi, illus. by Shazleen Khan. First Second, $22.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-250-79380-5; $14.99 paper ISBN 978-1-250-79381-2

Tween twins with a strained relationship must overcome their differences to save the day—and each other—in this moving graphic novel by Faruqi (the Ali the Great series) and debut creator Khan. Muslim Pakistani American twins Zara and Zeeshan have been bickering nonstop as they pack for their family trip from New York to Key West, Fla. When their tension—exacerbated by Islamophobic experiences at the airport—reaches a boiling point, their exasperated parents confiscate the twins’ phones until they can “figure out how to be friends.” Arriving in Florida without their devices, Zara and Zeesh must work together if they want to enjoy their trip and get their phones back. Collaborating on a mission to save a sick turtle allows the siblings to show off their skills and explore their passions, resulting in newfound connection and understanding. Khan’s digital illustrations mimic the free-flowing feel of watercolor; shifts between soft pastels and saturated primary colors evoke changes in mood, and creative angles, detailed expressions, and dynamic paneling portray characters’ interactions and relationships. Poignant flashbacks to the twins’ tumultuous childhood, as well as their present-day encounters with racism, supplement this stirring and uplifting story of family and identity. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)