Fight Back

Publisher: Scholastic

Aaliyah is just like any other schoolgirl growing up in Britain. She adores K-Pop, she wants to be a doctor, and she loves hanging out with her best friends Sukhi and Lisa. But when a terrorist attack happens at a local concert, her world is thrown into disarray. As a Muslim girl, she suddenly finds herself the target of racist bullying at school, and her family become caught in the crosshairs of racial tensions in their community.

Rather than hide away, Aaliyah bravely decides to stand up for herself and her religion and begins to wear a hijab at school, even when she’s bullied by other students and told to remove it by teachers. But the more Aaliyah stands her ground, the more she comes under attack – until she finds a community of students who want to join in her fight for self-expression.

This powerful book for older readers deftly covers issues around identity, freedom of expression, racism, and human rights. Seeing the world through Aaliyah’s eyes - a spirited, independent and determined teenager who is honest about her fear and uncertainty – throws into sharp relief the heartbreaking effects of racism on children. A study from the University of Birmingham recently revealed that the British public is nearly three times more likely to hold prejudiced views of Islam than of other religions, and books like Fight Back are desperately needed to empower children to take a stand against such abhorrent and outdated views. Gripping, honest, and a book that will stay with its reader for a long time.

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