Does My Head Look Big In This?
By Randa Abdel-Fattah
Sixteen year old Amal Mohamed Nasrullah Abdel-Hakim is an Australian-Muslim-Palestinean who is a perfectly normal teenager growing up in Melbourne Australia. As if being a teenager isn't tough enough she makes the biggest decision of her life- to wear the Muslim head scarf called a hijab full time.
It hit me when I was power walking on the tread mill at home, watching a Friends rerun for the ninetieth time. It's that scene where Jennifer Aniston is dressed in a hideous bride'smaid's outfit at her ex's wedding. Everyone is making fun of her and she wants to run away and hide. Then she suddenly gets the guts to jump onstage and sing some song called "Copacabana," whatever that means. I'm telling you, this rush of absolute power and conviction surged through me. I pressed the emergency stop button and stood in my Adidas shorts and Winnie-the-Pooh T-Shirt, utterly captivated by that scene. It was like stepping out of one room, closing the door behind me, and stepping into another. One minute it was the last thing on my mind. The next minute this courage flowed through me and it just felt unbelievably right. I was ready to wear the hijab. That's right. Rachel from Friends inspired me. The sheikhs will be holding emergency conferences.
So starts Amal's emotional and spiritual journey.
I really enjoyed the first person narration of this story. I felt connected to Amal as she dealt with the effects of her choice to publicly wear her hijab. I also felt like I learned a lot of her culture, customs and practices. She was a strong, smart and funny. The situations and problems that she experienced felt real. I loved that she was so strong in her religious convictions but didn't come across preachy.
As Amal says in her story-"Putting on the hijab isn't the end of the story. It's just the beginning."
I encourage you to read Amal's story and take this journey with her.
I recommend this book for ages 12 and up. It is currently available for check out at the Salmon Public Library.