I Can Help by Reem Faruqi
📚 BOOK REVIEW 📚
Title: I Can Help
Author: Reem Faruqi
Illustrator: Mikela Prevost
Publisher: Eerdmans @eerdmansyoungreaders
Islamic Content: Muslim Protagonist
Concerns: mentions the word music but in reference to tapping fingers
Zahra is always ready to help her classmate Kyle. He is so artistic, funny, kind and he needs help with some classroom tasks. When Zahra gets teased about helping Kyle, she makes a choice that she regrets.
There are so many things to love about this remarkable book. The story is narrated in first person, Zahra's voice and thoughts are spot on. Zahra's kind heart and helpful nature is negatively impacted by the words of her peers. She can recognize that her swift decision not to help Kyle and her mean tone towards him aren't who she really is and how she truly feels. I also love that the story is left open ended, because let's face it, we all have interactions that fade out of our lives without direct reconciliation. There is no resolution between Kyle and Zahra, but her final actions towards him have left an imprint. I love the cultural reference that she makes about the changing colours of the leaves in the fall. This story is perfect in classroom settings and will allow universal discussions about peer pressure and kindness. Reem Faruqi's talented writing really shines through in every sentence she constructs. This story is inspired by her own childhood experience and the negative peer pressure she was influenced by. This book is not to be missed.