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UNSETTLED

Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 2 weeks, 2 days ago

26 April 2021 UNSETTLED by Reem Faruqi, HarperCollins, May 2021, 352p., ISBN: 978-0-06-304470-8

 

“When President Joe Biden rescinded former President Donald Trump’s ban on immigrant visas from many Muslim-majority countries on his very first day in office, those eagerly awaiting the change were elated...But Biden’s reversal of one of Trump’s signature actions hasn’t resulted in a flood of airport reunions or any quick changes...as...more than 40,000 application...denied due to the bans...are included in what’s become a tremendous immigrant visa backlog.”

-- MSNBC, 3/20/21

 

“Oh, imagine yourself in a building

Up in flames, being told to stand still

The window’s wide open, this leap is on faith

You don’t know who will catch you, but maybe somebody will.”

-- Sara Bareilles, “A Safe Place to Land” (2019)

 

Which Land Is Mine?

 

In Peachtree City, Georgia,

the trees touch the sky

and the air smells different.

The water tastes different too.

The wind is pure

and free

from exhaust.

 

Yet the sidewalks are empty.

The roads have only cars.

 

In Karachi, Pakistan,

the trees are shorter

like me.

The air has whiffs of exhaust

and mango juice is plentiful.

Rickshaws sputter on the roads.

A donkey here or there.

Scooters everywhere.

Sellers of every kind

selling

coconuts

birds in cages

balloons

towels.

They all

gather on the road.

 

Different melodies

all at once.

Even though their lives

are hard,

they seem free.

 

Yet America with

its pure air

and people stuck inside

all day

is known as

the land of the free.

 

Pakistan with

its free people everywhere

and dirty air

is known as 

the land of the pure.”

 

Thirteen-year-old Nurah Haqq is a swimmer, an artist, a math aficionado, and a little sister. When Nurah’s father receives a job offer, their family of four says goodbye to the grandparents in Pakistan, and relocates to Peachtree, Georgia. In this story-in-verse of uprooting and finding one’s place in America, the author employs a gardening metaphor to organize the tale into nine parts: Uprooting, Replanting, Water, Planting Seeds, Sprouting, Rot, Budding, Wilting, and Flowering.

 

Nurah’s observations and reactions to her early experiences in America include her making friends with the cleaning women at the hotel in which her family initially stay; bullying and worse by her peers; making friends at school; her mother’s suffering a miscarriage; revelations regarding a friend’s abusive father; the supportiveness of a nurturing art teacher; and Nurah’s struggle to excell on a swim team

.

Author Reem Faruqi has drawn upon her own childhood experiences and struggles as a Muslim immigrant to tell Nurah’s story. UNSETTLED, Nurah’s reaction to life in America, has a nice balance: The issues Nurah encounters are well-probed and thought-provoking, yet the story will be readily accessible to third- and fourth-grade readers.

 

Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com

https://www.facebook.com/richiespicks/

https://twitter.com/richiespicks        

richiepartington@gmail.com  

 

 

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