Huda and me by H. Hayek

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Huda is nine, a girl filled with smiles, intriguing ideas and is full of zest. Akeal is a few years older, but he is Huda's greatest supporter, closest sibling and the responsible one. When their parents need to urgently go to Lebanon, they leave behind Huda and Akeal and their four older siblings and the younger toddler of their family to the care of a family contact, Aunt Amel. Unfortunately, this is definitely not a wise move and Aunt Amel is far from the perfect carer. She is not Mary Poppins! But Huda has a plan to rescue them all. She books tickets for Akeal and herself to travel to Lebanon to warn her parents of the disastrous situation. Huda reveals herself as a master tactician and a winsome travel 'agent' as the two young 'unaccompanied minors' make their way overseas to resolve the family difficulties.

This is a funny story of the audacious adventure when the forthright young girl sets her mind on solving the family's dilemma. The counterbalance between the over-confident Huda and the careful and anxious Akeal reveals a delightful family dynamic amidst the drama of the journey of the two intrepid travellers. The characters introduced in this Lebanese-Australian Muslim family are all loveable and warm. This will be enjoyed by young readers as they consider the brave actions of two young children as they outsmart adults and show great courage. For non-Muslim readers it will also reveal the delightful warmth and love of this family and their culture. Teacher's notes are available.

Themes: Family, Identity, Muslim children and culture.

Carolyn Hull