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The Garden of My Imaan

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  328 ratings  ·  100 reviews
Aliya already struggles with trying to fit in, feeling confident enough to talk to the cute boy or stand up to mean kids — the fact that shes Muslim is just another thing to deal with. When Marwa, a Moroccan girl who shares her faith if not her culture, comes to Aliya's school, Aliya wonders even more about who she is, what she believes, and where she fits in. Should she f ...more
Hardcover, 230 pages
Published April 1st 2013 by Peachtree Publishers
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Average rating 3.74  · 
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Paige (Illegal in 3 Countries)
See more of my reviews on The YA Kitten! My copy came from YA Books Central for review.
Diversity: 3 – Closer to Reality
4 (Aliya and her family are Indian Muslims; her best friend Winnie is Korean; Marwa’s family is Moroccan)
Disability: 0
Intersectionality: 4 (the book’s focus on Muslim girlhood creates plenty of intersections between gender and racial-ethnic identity)

One review of The Garden of My Imaan calls the book a modern homage to Are You There God? It’s Me, Margar
Feb 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: middle-grade, arc
Cover Gushing Worthiness: The cover of The Garden of my Imaan is one of the most adorable covers I've seen this year. The little girl’s smile is so cute and the cover works for a cute book :).

Review: I came across this book via netgalley. There have been a lot of works looking at Teenage Muslim girls or Muslim women in their adulthood and of course on the controversial topic of women wearing the Hijab. So when I saw this book on netgalley I was really interested in reading a book about a Muslim
Omar Zia
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There are many things to like about gardens. Once you get past all of the work (well, you never really do), you find that they provide beauty, nourishment and a reflection of one's self. "The Garden of My Imaan", by Farhana Zia, does all three. My 2 favorite things about this book are 1) the humor and sensitivity with which the author treats the subject and 2) that there is no singular cultural viewpoint or agenda being pushed here. On one level, it's the engaging story of a month-in-the-life of ...more
Ms. Yingling
Feb 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Aliya doesn't like to wear her hijab in public, because people think that all Muslims are responsible for the problems after 9/11, and it's easier to practice her faith if others don't know about it. Since her family is from India, she doesn't think that she shares much in common with other Muslims, especially the new girl, Marwa, whose family is from Morocco and who wears hijab. Aliya is having enough troubles with the bratty Juliana, who ends up running against her for student council rep; wit ...more
Erik This Kid Reviews Books
Aug 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Aliya has always been shy and she doesn’t want to call attention to herself. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t wear a hijab in school or fast much during Ramadan. You see, Aliya is Muslim, but her family isn’t strict with following the Muslim rules (her mother believes that Muslim woman can still be modest without wearing a hijab). Then Marwa came to Aliya’s school. Marwa is the exact opposite of Aliya. Marwa has tons of courage, always wears a hijab, and fasts for the whole of Ramadan. Marwa has a l ...more
Jun 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Although this book is not particularly well-written and the characters lack dimension, it is one of the few I've encountered that stars an American Muslim child. Aliya is likable enough; although much of the book reads like a child's guide to Muslim traditions and the diversity within the Muslim population, she struggles with her first Ramadan fast in a realistic way.

I am puzzled by the cover photo, though; Aliya is supposed to be Indian, but the girl on the cover does not seem to reflect this h
I have been searching for a book like The Garden of My Imaan for a while now. Aliya attends a public school where she is the only Muslim. Soon after we meet her Aliya's mother accidentally cuts off another woman in traffic. She yells at them to "go back to the desert and ride a camel!" The angry woman takes no note of the fact that family is from India--where there are NO deserts; and she doesn't care. The entire episode frightens Aliya, who sees a stranger screaming in anger because Aliya and h ...more
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was recommended to me by my librarian probably because it's a Muslim book, and it's written by a Muslim author. I'm a Muslim, so i was kind of like, "Cool! A relatively Muslim book!" But as the days drew on and I read other books, came across and said, "I don't really want to read this," I finally came at a stop sign, and because I had stopped, I looked at this book once more and thought, "Oh well! It can't be that bad." All this because I thought it was going to be like those high school b ...more
Fifth grader Aliyah loves her family and her religion, but she feels uncomfortable enough about her own place in the school's pecking order to be able to openly embrace her Muslim faith and cultural identity. In fact, when the school principal suggests that she befriend Marwa, a new girl from Morocco who is also Muslim, she avoids the girl as much as possible. Over time, though, as she works on a project for her religion class and watches how comfortable Marwa is with her own self-identity, she ...more
Gloria Miller
Feb 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This coming of age narrative proves once more that no matter what faith, ethnicity, or geographic location, adolescents all face the same challenges. They struggle to find their place in the world. Aliya stands astride two worlds........the traditional Muslim world of herb family and the world she faces each day at school. Aliya strives to balance her desire to "fit in" while she makes such important decisions as whether to wear hijab and fast for Ramadan. When Aliya must develop a project in he ...more
Mohammed Rasheen
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a short and cute book that contains many themes relevant to the life of any late elementary or middle schooler. Characters are little flat but live enough for the age group this book is intended to. may be 8-16 . Realistic, sweet, and satisfying with a happy ending as Aliya discovers and embraces who she is as the story progresses.Rich with positive advises, this book also tried to face indeed a very dangerous situation of islamophobia in US and other western countries in a casual way.
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
When I first started reading this book, it was a little difficult to get into. I read the book for a class and ultimately saw the message (about diversity) but found the main character to be grating and difficult to deal with. As I continued to read, however, she more likeable and I found myself enjoying the book. I suppose her transition ultimately aids the story's content and its message. A worthy read in the end!
Feb 11, 2013 added it

ARC from Midwinter, publication date 4/2013.
5th grade girl, some nice parallels to Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret.
Marina Minina
Oct 24, 2016 rated it liked it
I would like to talk about this book in the context of another one "The Great Wall of Lucy Wu". They both tell readers about two girls (Lu, the main character of "The Great Wall of Lucy Wu" and the main character of the book ‘The Garden of my Imaan’, Aliya) who struggle with self-identifying with their heritage. Their families’ attitudes to their cultural self-identity are different – Lu’s family pushed her to attend Chinese school, Aliya’s family seems to be more liberal (for example, they were ...more
Aliya is a shy kid. She mostly just wants to go along, not sticking out too much or drawing too much attention to herself. Then a new girl comes to school, Marwa, who is Muslim like Aliya. Only Marwa wears a hijab. Marwa doesn’t seem to care one bit about what anyone thinks or her, but it makes Aliya uncomfortable. Why doesn’t she try to fly under the radar more? Now people will think Aliya is weird too. At religious school, Aliya’s class gets assigned a Steps to Success assignment. They're supp ...more
Billie Jo
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids
Grades 4-6. The book uses easy to read prose to present the life of a Muslim-American pre-Teen in a post 9/11 United States. And while the attacks are mentioned in passing twice to give you an idea of the time period the book is set it, the book does not discuss them directly but rather focuses on a young Muslim American 5h grader trying to make sense of being a typical American pre-teen. I feel the book does a very good job at explaining Islamic traditions in a way that is accessible for a youn ...more
There were many things about this book that were good - great, in fact: portrayal of Islam as a religious faith shared by people of many cultural backgrounds, coming-of-age theme including wrestling with one's faith in light of prejudice, humanizing Muslims. However, the book is so didactic, and the characters are so flat that it was really disappointing. While I think it's adequate for children who are interested in learning more about Islam or seeing themselves in fiction, I look forward to fi ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it
What i think about this book was it was good and i didn't like it that much because they were talking about the same thing in the book a little. And it was most drama and the book because over Carly didn't invited Aliay to her party and just invited Ellen and Tracy in this is drama because Aliya invited Carly to all her parties. the part of this book that i like was that when Aliya explores her dreams and fears in letters to Allah, hoping that with hard work something beautiful will grow in the ...more
Megan Rogers
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
The Garden of my Imaan is a middle grade novel written by Farhana Zia. This is a sort of modern day, Islamic retelling of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. Aliya is a young American Muslim girl trying to navigate a post 9/11 world. This book shows how similar she is to any other American girl, trying to figure out her place in society and what she believes. She's learning how to make friends and how to stand up for herself. I thought this was a great book for kids and adults that enjoy middl ...more
Mar 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I like this book so far because the characters has a personal story that which makes drama in the book. Another thing that a like the book is that there are many types of in the main setting which makes a lot of drama. My other reason why i like this book is that its telling you to stand up for your self when a bully comes in. My fourth reason why i like this book because the protagonist its telling how its like to be her and which makes reality. And my last reason i like this book because the p ...more
Joy Kirr
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I wish I’d have known there was a glossary in the back of the book... I guess that’s how it goes reading a book online (in the time of COVID). If I had, I’d have gotten much more of the metaphor of the title. Even though the characters were in 5th grade, the cafeteria scenes made it feel a bit like middle school, so I bet I could find students that would enjoy this one. I, personally, learned more about what it might be like to be Muslim in America. I still need more, but this was a solid story.
Jun 14, 2017 rated it liked it
not the least choppy plot or most compelling writing i've ever encountered, but the main character is engaging enough. i think i read it too hot on the heels of amina's voice, which was a little jazzier and more relatable. i had a lot of interiority/exteriority thoughts while reading thanks to my anthropological training, but i'm guessing the target audience hasn't read politics of piety. so yeah, my degree was in Making Everything Less Fun.
This book about an American Muslim girl from an Indian family deserves a wider audience than it has gotten. The author had some missteps with the book (a student council election well into the school year for instance) and the cover is a bit unfortunate but overall this is a great book for 5th-6th grade girls who want to learn about Islam while still reading about a typical middle school girl with typical middle school problems.
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kids
Enjoyable book -- as an adult, I found it a little instructional? didactic? more focused on explaining culture than telling story -- however, I can also see where kids might need that level of context for the story to flow, and the story was interesting. I liked Aliya's gradual growth, and I liked her family's emphasis on how making your own choices within your faith is part of celebrating faith rather than reason for judgement from the outside.
Mar 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I think this was a good book because it tells us how Aliya faces so many challenges and faces them in a good way and how she was not always positive but most of the time and she stood up for herself so voice was heard.
Sweet story from a perspective not familiar with. I liked seeing Muslim lifestyle from a variety of cultures.
Kristen Landon
Oct 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great one for MG readers.
Sep 18, 2019 rated it liked it
Definitely written for a younger crowd. Very simple writing but does a good job introducing kids to the Muslim religion and biases surrounding it.
Mallory Hargett
Great book for 3/5 graders.
Jennifer Heise
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Charming if a little 'young' for the stated audience, but I liked the way the main character developed during the book.
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