Review Blog

Feb 09 2014

Coming of age : Growing up Muslim in Australia, edited by Amra Pajalic and Demet Divaroren

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743312926.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Multicultural Australia. Muslim. Coming of age. Twelve stories from a diversity of backgrounds, and a wide range of experiences but with one thing in common, the writers are all Muslim people growing up in Australia are contained in this book of short stories.
What a range of stories is here. It was astonishing to read of Tanseem Chopra, a Kenyan born Indian who is Muslim, trying to explain his various strands to people in Australia, or of Michael Mohommed Ahmed, growing up Lebanese in Western Sydney and making a decision to leave behind his high school friends to go his own way, or of Sabina Housani in Mishmatch Muslim, entering a beauty contest and expected to wear a bikini on stage.
Each of the twelve stories brings a different perspective to the reader, seeing Muslim people from more areas than the Middle East. In the introduction by the editors they point out that Muslims in Australia come from seventy different countries, that they make up nearly half a million of our population, that they occupy vastly different occupations and are in a variety of living spaces around the country.
This group of stories will be an eye opener to the readers, at its basis showing that growing up, whoever you are and wherever you come from the issues are the same, friends, family, sex, school, what to do with the rest of your life.
For a class this would be an enthralling set of stories to read, pointing out that young adult's worries and concerns have little todo with the stereotypes we see in the media.
Teacher notes can be found at Allen and Unwin.
Fran Knight

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