Fatima’s Great Outdoors

Kokila. Mar. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781984816955.
K-Gr 4–After a trying week of microaggressions and outright harassment from students at school and a bad grade on a math test, Fatima Khazi can’t wait to get away for her family’s first camping trip. On the drive to the state park, Fatima is comforted by samosas and Bollywood music, even as her older sister’s achievements at school make her feel small. Tariq deftly weaves together the Khazi family’s life experiences in India with the trip, by juxtaposing the parents’ upbringings, and showing Fatima build confidence through camping. A four-paneled spread, in vivid cartoon style, is used at the beginning and end of the book. It reflects Fatima’s feelings of distress at school and the freedom, happiness, and belonging that she finds in nature. Though the text does not explicitly name the family as Muslim, naming conventions and the family cooking halal beef bacon, provide clues to their background. The family is mentioned as Urdu-speaking; terms are not defined in the text or glossary, centering the characters of the narrative. Though the story can be read as present day, there are nods to the recent past. The last spread illustrates a group of campers with a sign “Brown People Camping” in reference to Tariq’s social media initiative.
VERDICT Most collections will benefit from this multilayered work of joy and validation.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing