Barakah Beats (Paperback)
November/December 2021 Kids Indie Next List
“Such a pleasure to read! Barakah Beats is an enlightening look at middle school, with all its angst and energy, through the eyes of a devout Muslim girl. It shows that though we might have differences, we have so much in common, too.”
— Vicky Titcomb, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA
“This book about friendship and faith absolutely sings.” –– Buzzfeed
Perfect for fans of The First Rule of Punk or Save Me a Seat, this is a sweet, powerful, and joyous novel about a girl who finds her voice on her own terms.
Twelve-year-old Nimra Sharif has spent her whole life in Islamic school, but now it's time to go to "real school."
Nimra's nervous, but as long as she has Jenna, her best friend who already goes to the public school, she figures she can take on just about anything.
Unfortunately, middle school is hard. The teachers are mean, the schedule is confusing, and Jenna starts giving hijab-wearing Nimra the cold shoulder around the other kids.
Desperate to fit in and get back in Jenna's good graces, Nimra accepts an unlikely invitation to join the school's popular 8th grade boy band, Barakah Beats. The only problem is, Nimra was taught that music isn't allowed in Islam, and she knows her parents would be disappointed if they found out. So she devises a simple plan: join the band, win Jenna back, then quietly drop out before her parents find out.
But dropping out of the band proves harder than expected. Not only is her plan to get Jenna back working, but Nimra really likes hanging out with the band—they value her contributions and respect how important her faith is to her. Then Barakah Beats signs up for a talent show to benefit refugees, and Nimra's lies start to unravel. With the show only a few weeks away and Jenna's friendship hanging in the balance, Nimra has to decide whether to betray her bandmates—or herself.
Praise for Barakah Beats:
School Library Journal Best Books of the Year
New York Public Library Best Books of the Year
Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
Indie's Introduce Summer/Fall 2021 Pick
Indie Next November/December 2021 Pick
"This book about friendship and faith absolutely sings." -- Buzzfeed
"Superb!" -Alex Gino, award-winning author of George
"Nimra is just the heroine middle-school readers are searching for." -Saadia Faruqi, author of A Thousand Questions
"Sweet and relatable-I couldn't put it down!" - Huda Fahmy, creator of Huda F Are You?
"You won't be able to stop reading once you start! I tumble-down fell in love." -Wendy Wan-Long Shang, author of Not Your All-American Girl (co-authored with Madelyn Rosenberg)
"This lively, heartfelt book hits all the right notes." -Rajani LaRocca, author of Red, White, and Whole
"If you love an irrepressible heroine and the story of underdogs stopping at nothing to be seen and heard, Barakah Beats is a must-read. I'm a Barakah Beats stan for life!" -Stephan Lee, author of K-Pop Confidential
★ "Fraught family relationships, shifting friendships, differing religious practices-they're big topics, but debut-author Siddiqui deftly tackles them with warmth, humor, and compassion." -Booklist, starred review
★ "Every elementary and middle school library will benefit from this touching story." -School Library Journal, starred review
"An important story about staying true to yourself." -Kirkus Reviews