cover image Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party (Marya Khan #1)

Marya Khan and the Incredible Henna Party (Marya Khan #1)

Saadia Faruqi, illus. by Ani Bushry. Amulet, $14.99 (144p) ISBN 978-1-41976-116-4

Third grader Marya Khan is tired of her birthday arriving two days after that of her popular and wealthy next-door neighbor Alexa. Each year, Alexa, who reads as white, throws an extravagant, well-attended fete, while Marya celebrates by eating pizza and cake with her best friend and family. Mama and Baba won’t take on a larger party, citing limited resources, but after Alexa brags about her shindig one too many times, Marya says she’s throwing one of her own—a henna party inspired by her dadi’s favorite Pakistani dramas. With only a few days to go and no parental permission, Marya encounters various obstacles, navigating family, friends, and themes of integrity versus desire en route to a feel-good end that takes everyone’s needs into account. Chapters each begin with a “Word of the Day” that hint at events to come. A lively voice brings the large cast to life in this fast-paced, entertaining chapter book from Faruqi (the Meet Yasmin! series). B&w vignettes by Bushry (Queen Baby) foreground the characters. Ages 6–9. Author’s agent: Kari Sutherland, Bradford Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Christy Ewers, CAT Agency. (Oct.)