Hena Khan

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Hena Khan

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February 2017


Giving me shelter

As another Fourth of July holiday and Ramadan wind down, I’m thinking of an unusual invitation I received this month. It was from an old friend, a neighbor, who I grew up with, alongside her children. I’ve spent countless hours in her family home, making dandelion necklaces in her backyard, hula-hooping on her driveway, and it was a treat to see her number on my screen.


“If you ever need it, God...

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Published on July 04, 2016 21:08
Average rating: 4.07 · 7,308 ratings · 1,627 reviews · 27 distinct worksSimilar authors
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On Point

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Hena Khan is now friends with Mona Ives
Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi
Amina's Voice by Hena Khan
"Montana Library2Go | Lovely, and honest. | A quick read with a sweet protagonist. Even though the plot synopsis explained what would happen, I still found myself getting sniffly when the Islamic Center was vandalized. The difficult transition kids..." Read more of this review »
Hena Khan and 6 other people liked rachel's review of Amina's Voice:
Amina's Voice by Hena Khan
"Amina’s Voice took me by surprise. I should never have doubted the countless glowing reviews that urged me to pick this up but I am so glad that its Goodreads Choice Award nomination pushed me to finally get my hands on it. Wow. Khan has such a lu..." Read more of this review »
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“Bradley Landry toward us. And this time, the three of us look at one another with alarm. Bradley’s the kid who can’t sit still for more than five minutes. In second grade, he was forced to sit on a chair”
Hena Khan, Amina's Voice

“But later that night, as I brush my teeth in the bathroom, I overhear Baba and Thaya Jaan talking in the guest room next door. “

All this music all the time. You shouldn’t let Amina do so much singing and piano,” Thaya Jaan says.

I stop brushing and strain to hear every word, trying to follow.

“But, Bhai Jaan, she is so talented. Her music teachers say she is really quite gifted.”

“Yes, but music is forbidden in Islam. It’s a waste of time and has no benefit. Instead of filling her head with music, she should focus on memorizing Quran.”

The toothpaste suddenly tastes bitter. I spit it out and wait to hear what Baba will say. Surely he’ll say the things he’s always told me, like how music makes him feel closer to God and that my talent is a gift from Allah.

But all Baba says is, “Yes, Bhai Jaan,” and then he stays quiet.

I am numb. Is Thaya Jaan right? Am I doing something wrong?
Hena Khan, Amina's Voice

“When it’s my turn, I fill my plate with rice, shami kabob, lentils, and butter chicken, skipping the cauliflower and salad, and pile the naan high before carefully carrying it downstairs to the basement. Rabiya, Yusuf, and the other kids are already camped in front of the TV with their food.

Mustafa joins a few minutes later, plopping down on our beat-up leather sofa next to Yusuf.

“There’s nothing good on,” Yusuf announces after flipping through all the channels.

“Isn’t there a basketball game?” Mustafa asks.

“Nooo!” Rabiya whines.

“I want SpongeBob,” a little boy named Jamal says, chewing on a piece of naan.

“How about we tell scary stories?” Yusuf suggests.

“No way,” Rabiya refuses. “Last time I had nightmares for days.”

I agree. Yusuf tells the scariest stories ever. The worst one was about severed hands of bodies that were dug up from graves. The hands came to life and would tickle people to death. I still think about that whenever we pass a graveyard.”
Hena Khan, Amina's Voice

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