Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: October 19th, 2021
Cover Art: Javeria M. Talha
Cover Design: Yaffa Jaskoll
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*An Indies Introduce Summer/Fall 2021 Selection & Nov/Dec 2021 Kids Indie Next List Pick by the American Booksellers Associations and a 2021 Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection*
For fans of The First Rule of Punk and Save Me a Seat, Barakah Beats is a sweet, powerful, and joyous novel about a Muslim girl who finds her voice on her own terms… by joining her school’s most popular boy band.
Twelve-year-old Nimra Sharif has spent her whole life in Islamic school, but now it’s time to go to “real school”
Nimra’s nervous, but as long as she has Jenna, her best friend who already goes to public school, she figures she can take on just about anything.
Unfortunately, middle school is hard. The teachers are mean, the schedule is confusing, and Jenna starts giving hijab-wearing Nimra the cold shoulder around the other kids. Desperate to fit in and get back in Jenna’s good graces, Nimra accepts an unlikely invitation to join the school’s popular 8th grade boy band, Barakah Beats. The only problem is, Nimra was taught that music isn’t allowed in Islam, and she knows her parents would be disappointed if they found out. So she devises a simple plan: join the band, win Jenna back, then quietly drop out before her parents find out.
But dropping out of the band proves harder than expected. Not only is her plan to get Jenna back working, but Nimra really likes hanging out with the band-they value her contributions and respect how important her faith is to her. Then Barakah Beats signs up for a talent show to benefit refugees, and Nimra’s lies start to unravel. With the show only a few weeks away and Jenna’s friendship hanging in the balance, Nimra has to decide whether to betray her bandmates – or herself.
~ Praise for BARAKAH BEATS ~
“Fraught family relationships, shifting friendships, differing religious practices…debut-author Siddiqui deftly tackles them with warmth, humor, and compassion.”
– Booklist, starred review
“Every elementary and middle school library 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 (SLJ), starred review
“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, with her fabulous musical chops, her kind nature, and her love for her family, is just the heroine middle school readers are searching for.”
– Saadia Faruqi, author of A Thousand Questions
“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 Barakah Beats! I tumble-down fell in love with Nimra from the first page to her triumphant reconciliation of faith, family, and friends.”
– Wendy Wan-Long Shang, co-author of Not Your All-American Girl with Madelyn Rosenberg
“Set amidst the agony and the ecstasy of middle school, BARAKAH BEATS tells the story of Nimra, a young Muslim girl who learns to navigate friendships and follow her heart while staying true to her faith and her family. This lively, heartfelt book hits all the right notes.”
– Rajani LaRocca, author of Red, White, and Whole
“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 George
“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. Nimra is a hilarious, lovable narrator and is the perfect BFF as she takes you on her journey. The Muslim rep is beautiful and important — pure joy for any reader. The raucous rhythms of Nimra’s story burst through from every page. I’m a Barakah Beats stan for life!”
– Stephan Lee, author of K-Pop Confidential