"Call Me Adnan” Depicts Grief Through Poetry For Middle Grader Readers

The novel follows a heart-rending tale of a family’s grief and healing, interweaving Adnan’s Pakistani Muslim identity into the story.

"Call Me Adnan” Depicts Grief Through Poetry For Middle Grader Readers

Reem Faruqi’s new middle grade novel in verse “Call Me Adnan” released on June 13. A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, “Call Me Adnan” is published by HarperCollins  

Adnan Zakir dreams of making it to the Ultimate Table Tennis Championship in Florida. But when Adnan achieves his goal and reaches Florida with his family, they experience unimaginable loss. Adnan swears he will never play table tennis again.

The novel follows a heart-rending tale of a family’s grief and healing, interweaving Adnan’s Pakistani Muslim identity into the story. The story also depicts strong community bonds — for example, the family’s time in the masjid (where Adnan discovered his love for table tennis).

“Call Me Adnan” received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, who praised its “vivid details surrounding Adnan’s Pakistani Muslim identity” and “nuanced characterizations.”

Reem Faruqi is an award-winning author who writes lyrical stories that reflect her own experiences. She is the author of the award-winning “Lailah’s Lunchbox” (2015), a picture book about a young Muslim girl who immigrated to the U.S. Faruqi herself moved to Peachtree City, Georgia, from Abu Dhabi when she was 13 years old. Three of her other middle grade novels are also written in verse: “Unsettled”(2021)  and “Golden Girl” (2022).” She has written several other chapter and picture books as well.

Description from HarperCollins:

“For fans of Planet Omar and The Ethan I Was Before, award-winning Pakistani author Reem Faruqi of Unsettled delivers a middle grade novel in verse about table tennis player Adnan, who dreams of the championship and a fun-filled family trip to Florida. But when tragedy strikes, he and his family must cope with a terrible loss and come together as one again. This poignant story about a Muslim family learning to heal is hope-filled and moving.

Adnan Zakir loves table tennis. He's also colorblind, left-handed, and has a fondness for the aviation alphabet. He's super close with his sister, Aaliyah, who is a great dancer and memorizer of Quran, and he loves his little toddler brother Rizwan, who only wants to grow up and play table tennis like his big brother.

All Adnan dreams of is making it to the Ultimate Table Tennis Championship in Florida, and if he qualifies for the tournament, he knows he will get to spend the Eid holiday with his cousins! But when the family travels there, unthinkable tragedy strikes, and Adnan swears he'll never play table tennis ever again. Slowly, he and his family must learn to make peace and move forward, as a family.”

Order your copy of “Call Me Adnan”

Reem Faruqi socials: twitter, instagram

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