Jamila is an 11-year-old who has left her friends, her school and her home in Iraq. She now lives in Melbourne, Australia. She, her mother and younger brother are refugees newly arrived from Iraq. She desperately misses her father and her best friend, both still in Iraq. It is hard for Jamila to settle into a new life made more difficult as she is often called away from school to help her mother. She desperately wants to learn English and do well in school, but these absences make this difficult. When she joins the choir, Jamila begins to feel happy. Singing helps take her worries away and find a place in her new life. The book includes a significant amount of Arabic and a glossary that provides the meaning for each of the words that Jamila and her mother use. When Jamila hears about the school choir, she at last has an opportunity to excel as she both sings and writes her own songs. She finds a new friend, Eve, who also loves to sing and agrees that Jamila is a gifted singer. The author uses her experience of teaching young people from different cultural backgrounds and her own love of music in this novel to create a story that touches the reader in so many familiar ways – pursuing your talents, making friends, and honouring family and traditions while embracing diversity.
Family, Friendship, History, Immigrants, Migration, Racial identity, Refugees, Resilience
Secondary, Upper primary
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