Praise for Bhai For Now
“An uplifting, culturally inclusive, and lively exploration of family bonds.” School Library Journal
"A Parent Trap redux that doesn’t disappoint. A delightful tale of family love and complexity.” Kirkus Reviews
"A compelling and emotionally resonant story with a satisfyingly outlandish plot. Give to fans of Gordon Korman's realistic fiction." Booklist
“This is an engaging read that balances humor, suspense, and genuine feelings of insecurity and betrayal.” School Library Connection
Praise for Barakah Beats:
A New York Public Library Best Kids Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
Indie's Introduce Summer/Fall 2021 Pick
Indie Next November/December 2021 Pick
A Junior Library Guild Selection
*"Every[one] will benefit from this touching story about a preteen struggling to reconcile faith, friends, and family against the backdrop of an American middle school.” –School Library Journal, Starred Review
*"Fraught family relationships, shifting friendships, differing religious practices—they’re big topics, but debut-author Siddiqui deftly tackles them with warmth, humor, and compassion.” –Booklist, Starred Review
"Superb! Nimra is a joy to cheer for in a nuanced story that will leave readers thinking about how to navigate complex ethical choices." — Alex Gino, award-winning author of Melissa
"Equal parts fun and serious, Barakah Beats is a lovely story that will resonate with countless kids growing up between two cultures and faiths. Nimra is just the heroine middle-school readers are searching for." — Saadia Faruqi, author of A Thousand Questions
"Finally! A story about a young Muslim girl trying to fit in while also staying true to her values, beliefs, family, and culture. Sweet and relatable—I couldn’t put it down!" — Huda Fahmy, creator of Huda F Are You?
"This book should come with a warning label—you won’t be able to stop reading once you start! I tumble-down fell in love." — Wendy Wan-Long Shang, author of Not Your All-American Girl (co-authored with Madelyn Rosenberg)
"This lively, heartfelt book hits all the right notes." — Rajani LaRocca, author of Red, White, and Whole
"If you love an irrepressible heroine and the story of underdogs stopping at nothing to be seen and heard, Barakah Beats is a must-read. The Muslim rep is beautiful and important—pure joy for any reader. The raucous rhythms of Nimra's story bursts through from every page. I'm a Barakah Beats stan for life!" — Stephan Lee, author of K-Pop Confidential
Gr 3–7—Shaheer has gotten used to keeping to himself and watching Property Brothers on television with his grandfather. He's never had the opportunity to stay in one place for very long as he moves around the country, accommodating his physician father's frequent job changes. Imagine his shock and confusion when, on his first day of eighth grade in a brand-new school, he runs into his doppelgänger! It turns out that Shaheer and his identical twin, Ashar, were separated when their parents divorced. Ashar lives with their mother, enjoying ice hockey and studying for the entrance exam to a prestigious high school. Neither parent has ever been open about the other, so the twins (with the cooperation of their cousin Zohra) cook up some classic trading-places high jinks. In this reworked Parent Trap, the story is completely driven by the actions and feelings of the kids. The narrative perspective switches back and forth between the twins, witnessing them getting to know their new relatives and confronting the conflicting feelings that come with discovering such a long-held and damaging secret. The parents don't rekindle any romantic attachment and, in fact, demonstrate some harsh, but emotionally honest, vitriol towards each other. Ashar and Shaheer, who is starting to form connections for the first time in his life, must convince their parents that brotherhood, family, and community all matter more than old grievances. Details of both families' Pakistani heritage and Muslim faith are seamlessly integrated into the story. VERDICT An uplifting, culturally inclusive, and lively exploration of family bonds.—Alyssa Annico
A Parent Trap redux that doesn’t disappoint.
Ashar plays hockey and lives with his mother. Shaheer likes interior decorating just like his paternal grandfather, something he can’t really indulge in because the two of them are constantly moving house with Shaheer’s doctor father. Ashar’s least favorite subject is science, one that Shaheer is pretty good at. The two boys, long-lost identical twin brothers whose parents divorced when they were babies, finally come face to face at school after a series of comedic errors. Determined to figure out why they were separated and the existence of each kept hidden from the other, the twins come up with a complex swapping system in which Shaheer gets to spend time with his mother and Ashar with his father and grandfather. What follows is a heartwarming story of family, siblings, and belonging. Set in Northern Virginia, the story’s outline may be familiar, but what makes it work is the writing: It’s lucid, pacy, and gives enough space for all the characters to find their own voices, especially the tweens. There are morsels of Pakistani food, moments of Muslim solidarity, and lots of hopes and aspirations about growing up that come with being eighth graders, all skillfully brought together.
A delightful tale of family love and complexity. (Fiction. 8-12)