Review: Saadia Faruqi’s Meet Yasmin Is a Breath of Fresh Air

Meet Yasmin

Meet Yasmin is a punchy and bold addition to kid lit that deserves a space on your bookshelf.

Saadia Faruqi’s Meet Yasmin is a delightful concoction of childhood joy, a marriage of evocative prose with bold, beautiful colors. It’s really a collection of early reader chapter books: Yasmin the ExplorerYasmin the PainterYasmin the Builder, and Yasmin the Fashionista. If you couldn’t already tell, the stories are about Yasmin, a bright-eyed Pakistani American girl in the second grade.

Faruqi drives the stories with Yasmin’s curious and creative point of view. The installations are short and sweet, clearly broken up with a beginning, middle, and end. While she’s bold and punchy, Yasmin isn’t without insecurities or problems. Each book becomes an exercise in problem-solving as Yasmin navigates new experiences with her family and friends. Whether she’s channeling her inner Jackson Pollock or jazzing up a PJ set, it’s always a pleasure to see how Yasmin takes on her latest challenges — which, by the way, are never drummed up as trivial. 

Faruqi also brings us into Yasmin’s world as a Pakistani American girl. The food she eats, the special clothes that her family wears — they’re simply a part of her instead of being shoehorned in or exotified. The end of the book also includes extra sheets about Pakistani culture and language as well as a recipe and craft instructable to try out. 

It would be remiss to not mention the lovely illustrations by Hatem Aly, which meld perfectly with the tight prose. The exaggerated features capture the whimsical feel of Yasmin’s adventures. The characters have enlarged eyes, tiny, pointed feet, and mouths that resemble lines. Aly’s colors are also warm and bold and aplenty, as though they were siphoned from Yasmin’s imagination.

Meet Yasmin is the perfect collection for kids in grade K-2, but it’s really a timeless reminder of joy for readers of any age. 

Get Meet Yasmin at Bookshop.org.

Grades: K-2 

Published: 2018

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