Fatima’s Great Outdoors

Ambreen Tariq, illus. by Stevie Lewis. Kokila, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-984816-95-5
After a tough week of being teased by her American schoolmates, Fatima Khazi is looking forward to a much-needed break—her Indian family’s first camping trip (“a great American pastime,” Papa proclaims). Memory-making highlights, digitally drawn by Lewis (Lost in the Library) with reassuring sensitivity, will resonate with readers of all backgrounds: there’s a car sing-along (to Bollywood’s Mohammed Rafi), a stubborn tent (“Papa grumbled in Urdu when the pieces wouldn’t fit”), and a frightening spider. And when their campfire is the only one in the park that won’t catch (“Why did Fatima’s family always have to be so different?” the girl frets), Mama saves the day. Fatima initially dreads returning to the dissatisfactions of everyday life, including school and her parents’ long work hours, then realizes that she now has “superhero” confidence—and great material for show and tell. While the writing sometimes tells rather than shows (“The Khazies didn’t use paper plates because they were too expensive”), debut author Tariq, founder of social media initiative @BrownPeopleCamping, has created an authentic, affectionate portrait of how outdoor spaces can offer a saving grace and a sense of belonging. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Zoe Sandler, ICM Partners. Illustrator’s agent: Ed Maxwell, Sanford J. Greenburger Assoc. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/21/2021
Release date: 03/30/2021
Genre: Children's
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