- Publisher: Scholastic US
- Format: Paperback | 360 pages
- Dimensions: 132mm x 201mm x 23mm | 249g
- Publication date: 1 August 2008
- Publication City/Country: New York, NY
- ISBN 10: 043992233X
- ISBN 13: 9780439922333
- Edition statement: Reprint
- Sales rank: 32,760
When sixteen-year-old Amal decides to wear the hijab full-time, her entire world changes, all because of a piece of cloth... Sixteen-year-old Amal makes the decision to start wearing the hijab full-time and everyone has a reaction. Her parents, her teachers, her friends, people on the street. But she stands by her decision to embrace her faith and all that it is, even if it does make her a little different from everyone else. Can she handle the taunts of "towel head," the prejudice of her classmates, and still attract the cutest boy in school? Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah's debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs.
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Randa Abdel-Fattah is an attorney, a writer, a chocoholic, and an active member in the interfaith community, as well as the campaign for Palestinian human rights. She is the author of the critically acclaimed novels DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? and TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT ME, both published by Orchard Books. She is also the author of the forthcoming middle-grade novel, WHERE THE STREETS HAD A NAME, published by Scholastic Press. Ms. Abdel-Fattah lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and their children.
By TeensReadToo 16 Sep 2010
Let me start out by saying that DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? is a book that needed to be written, and one that needs to be read. It definitely fills a gap in young adult literature: it's a story about a normal Muslim girl in a non-Muslim country (Australia) who is not escaping oppression by a fundamentalist government/family or anything like that. Amal is just a normal teenage girl, albeit a Muslim one. She has crushes on boys, she likes to go shopping, she giggles with her friends, and she sometimes argues with her parents or feuds with classmates.
However, Amal's life is changed drastically when she makes a major decision: to wear the hijab, the head scarf worn by Muslim women. This would not be nearly such a big deal were she still at school with all of her friends who are also Muslim and some of whom wear the hijab full-time (meaning: whenever she is around men who are not relatives) as well. However, Amal has recently transferred to a very white-bread prep school, where the environment is completely different.
Amal is subjected to racism and discrimination by kids whose experience with Muslims has largely been confined to what they see in the media. The reactions she faces at home are not all positive, either, but Amal has made a choice. To her, it is a personal, religious decision, to show her devotion to God; it's not about being oppressed as some of her classmates seem to think, or making any sort of statement. Being a Muslim is a part of who Amal is, but in showing that, she faces things a lot worse than any evangelical Christian I know, and that's a sad commentary on our society.
All of that aside, Randa Abdel-Fattah's book is very well-written, and I loved Amal's voice. The characters in this book (particularly Amal) were great. DOES MY HEAD LOOK BIG IN THIS? is actually a little reminiscent of the wonderful LOOKING FOR ALIBRANDI by Melina Marchetta, and that's high praise, indeed! The main characters feel similarly different from their peers, are both Australian, and even have sort of similar voices.
This book is more than worth reading; it's a must-read!
**Gold Star Award Winner!