11-year-old Samira thinks of her life as before and after: before the burning and violence in her village in Burma, when she and her best friend would play in the fields, and after, when her family was forced to flee. There's before the uncertain journey to Bangladesh by river, and after, when the river swallowed her nana and nani whole.
And now, months after rebuilding a life in Bangladesh with her mama, baba, and brother, there's before Samira saw the Bengali surfer girls of Cox's Bazar, and after, when she decides she'll become one. Samira Surfs, written by Rukhsanna Guidroz with illustrations by Fahmida Azim, is a tender novel in verse about a young Rohingya girl's journey from isolation and persecution to community, and from fear to power, as she finds strength and sisterhood at a local surf club for girls.
"Scarred by the loss of her grandparents during the boat trip from Burma, Samira steers clear of water. She yearns to attend school, but both a lack of funds and her father’s sexism prevent that. When Khaled learns to surf, Samira is initially ambivalent, still wishing she could learn English and Chittagonian like him instead. Until, that is, her friends and fellow beach merchants also begin to surf, discovering a secret pleasure in a community where even swimming is considered taboo for girls and women." — Publishers Weekly
|10 - 13
|Jun 29, 2021