Amina's Blanket by Helen Dunmore
📚 BOOK REVIEW 📚
Title: Amina's Blanket
Author: Helen Dunmore
Illustrator: Paul Dainton
Islamic Content: None
Concerns: I didn't like the portrayal of Amina.
Josie and her classmates knit 30 squares, so they can stitch them together to make a blanket. It is to be sent to someone in a war-torn country with limited access to basic daily needs. Before the blanket is sent, Josie meets Amina in her dream. Amina is cold and trying to keep safe from attacks and shelling. When an explosion happens, and fire erupts, a team of rescuers comes their way. Josie suddenly wakes up in the comfort of her own home.
I was surprised to see this book on the shelf at Dorallama, so I just couldn't pass it up. It is an early reader chapter book published in 1996. Amina's home country hasn't been specified in the story, however, women in hijab are depicted in the illustrations. The concept of the whole class working together to create something for a greater purpose and teach students compassion is not an unusual task. A couple of things irked me in the story. First, Amina has a pet mouse that she keeps in her pocket. I really question this choice. If it was a stray cat that she took under her care, it would have been more believable. The other is that Josie and Amina discuss the colours of the rainbow in the blanket, and suddenly Amina asks Josie "Tell me more about the colors. Everything's so gray and dirty in the city." Then Josie begins describing the different patches on colours to her. Some books are intended to educate the kids about the realities of others in the world, however, it is told in a demeaning way. I felt that Amina's character is belittled through something as basic as colours in order for it to become a teachable moment for the reader. Which could be why I didn't really see the emotional growth of the main character in the story.