Cover Image: Saving Sunshine

Saving Sunshine

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Member Reviews

Zara and Zeeshan are two Muslim American siblings who are struggling dealing with microaggressions from other kids at school, and their relationship is suffering because of it. Zara is being made fun of for wearing a hijab, and Zeeshan's peers make fun of his name repeatedly.

The sibling's family takes a trip to Florida, where their mother is invited to speak at a medical conference. While on the trip, the siblings are forced to bond and work through their challenges without their phones. They work together to care for a sick turtle they found, and develop a new respect for each other's interests along the way.

This is a super sweet, beautifully illustrated story about family. Recommended for middle grade graphic novel collections!

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In Saving Sunshine, Zara and Zeeshan struggle to be different from others. They have different names and Zara wears a hijab. They go on a family vacation and are constantly arguing like siblings. The siblings have to learn to work together to get out of a tough situation.

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I really enjoyed this book. It is handled micro aggressions and family dynamics eloquently. As someone with siblings who understands the complicated relationship between brother and sister I did enjoy this.

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Siblings Zara and Zeeshan are constantly at it. She wants to save the environment. He wants to learn about space. Both want the other to leave them alone. While on a family trip that celebrates their mother, they lose their phones, learn a little about racisim, find a turtle, and finally understand why they are so angry at each other. This book is great. The racism/microaggressions is handled carefully and well explained. The sibling dynamic is spot on and their "make-up" is natural. Add in the sea turtle that needs help and you have a wonderful family story for science oriented readers. A must have.

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This book needs to be in every middle grade library! I want to see more diverse stories like that of these Muslim-American siblings and their parents on a trip. The illustrations are gorgeous! The authors do a wonderful job of exploring family dynamics, microaggression towards Muslims in North America and attempts to deviate from the concept of 'strict' ethnic parents. I wish I had more books like this around when I was in grade school!

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"Saving Sunshine" by Saadia Faruqi and Shazleen Khan is such a sweet book and should be on bookshelves everywhere. We follow two siblings, Zara and Zeeshan with Muslim American roots. They are on vacation with their family as they wander around the various activities and locales.

Things I admired:
~The illustrations are gorgeous and I love the elements from her animal app-- very creative!
~Valuable insight on microaggressions and the extra planning that goes into apprehension of racially biased mistreatment. These were important messages that were delivered seamlessly.
~The emotional and mental labor of having to navigate people constantly questioning their role in society was clearly executed.
~I LOVE the non—traditional parental roles exhibited in this book.
~Color variations of flashbacks are clever using complementary colors yellow orange and red violet
~The way they came together to save local wildlife

My only note was that the sister, Zara, is pretty condescending towards her brother which did make me feel a tad let down. As an eldest sister with five brothers (including twins), I know that siblings can have challenging dynamics, but this was a bit overboard.

Thank you NetGalley and First Second Books for the opportunity to review this digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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This was a FANTASTIC story about not only family, but microaggressions and animal rights and knowing when to say something. I loved it.

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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for granting me free access to the advanced digital copy of this book.

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Saving Sunshine by Saadia Faruqi should rightfully be in every middle grade library. The art is beautiful and colorful, while the story is a glimpse into the lives of two Muslim siblings on a family trip. The book tackles racism, climate change, and how to work together with your family. If you like this, then take a look at the author's other young reader or middle grade books!

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Cute read. A bit slow paced but I enjoyed the message that the author was trying to convey. The art design was beautiful and visually enticing!

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"Saving Sunshine" by Saadia Faruqi and Shazleen Khan explores the challenges faced by Muslim American siblings, Zara and Zeeshan, as they navigate the complexities of childhood, dealing with teasing, and their own sibling rivalry. In this relatable and heartwarming graphic novel, the siblings, who can't stand each other, find themselves sentenced to spend time together during a family trip. The story takes a heartwrenchingly honest turn when they discover an ailing turtle, offering a rare opportunity for teamwork if they can set aside their differences. Faruqi and Khan deliver a poignant narrative that addresses familial bonds, the struggle against unkindness, and the power of unity in the face of adversity.

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Thanks to Net Galley for the ARC. Once again, I missed the window to get this review done before the book came out. While Faruqi, is the writer and has a good idea here, Khan is the star of the show. Their watercolors are just perfect for this story and they elevate it exponentially. I would love to hand this to every 5th grader in the world. There are some parts that feel forced, but for the most part, this is important and I am so happy it exists.

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A beautiful story that I will be recommending to my fellow muslim readers. I related so much to the MC’s. Thank you for the review copy!

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I thought that this book was absolutely delightful. The characters and story were both fresh, fun and poignant. Thanks for the review copy!

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a light read for some topics that are “too heavy” to write. but sometimes I feel like there’s something missing and not connecting the plot. a heartwarming and simple way to put the topics (being a ‘foreigner’ in your birth land and the beautiful way of how sibling works). I wish some of the aspect can be elaborated much further so the plot is not so out of nowhere. but overall this is such an enjoyable read!

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It's not easy being different. When you are always fighting with your annoying sibling, the worst punishment ever is being forced to spend time together! UGH! Zara and Zeeshan are on a family vacation in Florida. Someone has just commented on their "foreign names" or Zara's hijab and in frustration, she runs to the beach, despite the stormy weather. When she discovers an injured turtle, unable to make it back to the ocean, she'll have to work together with her brother to save it. Can they make a difference before it's too late? No one allows middle grade readers a glimpse into the Muslim American identity quite as well as Saadia Faruqi and this graphic novel provides her another way to reach readers and guide them toward empathy.

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There's an awful lot going on here thematically. We're addressing sibling rivalry and trauma, climate change and the impact of human presence on animals and ecosystems, racism and Islamaphobia. And how all of those things can combine to make people aggressive and cruel. That could easily become too much for a middle grade novel but this one handles it well. A solid narrative well supported by the images.

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Typical sibling rivalry is the basis for this book. I liked that it displayed what a real relationship between siblings can be like. I really liked how they came together. It was believable! Some parts dragged on a bit to me but overall, an entertaining read!

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Saving Sunshine is a heartwarming and inspiring story about a young Pakistani American girl named Noor who learns to embrace her identity and stand up for what she believes in. Noor is a kind, compassionate, and talented artist who faces a number of challenges, including bullying at school and financial struggles at home. Despite these challenges, Noor never gives up hope and is always determined to make a difference in the world.

I found Noor to be a relatable and inspiring protagonist. She is a strong and resilient young woman who is not afraid to be herself. I also appreciated the diversity of the characters in the story. Noor's family and friends are all well-developed and add depth to the story.

The plot of Saving Sunshine is engaging and heartwarming. I was rooting for Noor from the beginning, and I was eager to see her overcome her challenges. The story is also well-paced and never drags.

Faruqi's writing style is easy to read and engaging. She uses vivid language to bring Noor's story to life. I also appreciated the use of humor in the story.

The themes of Saving Sunshine are important and relevant. The story teaches readers about the power of hope, the importance of family, and the courage to be yourself.

Overall, I enjoyed Saving Sunshine and would recommend it to readers of all ages. It is a heartwarming and inspiring story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it.

I hope this review is helpful!

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This graphic novel explored the relationship of two twins who are completely different. I really loved the way the book really explored just how unique all of us are and how sometimes life is hard even with our own siblings. This middle grade novel is about friendship, compromise, religion, and relationships.

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