Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin’s Hijab

Publisher: Amulet Books

Set in Oregon, USA in 2002, this powerful graphic novel tells the story of a distressing event in the lives of two girls, Nisrin and Firuzeh. As they make their way home from school, they experience a violent racist attack, which leaves them injured and traumatised. Despite counselling, both girls feel apprehensive about leaving their homes in the weeks following the assault, and their friendship suffers as they begin to drift apart.

After the incident, Nisrin gives serious thought to her Islamic faith and Bangladeshi heritage. When she starts High School, she decides to wear a hijab, a headscarf which covers her hair; it provides her with a sense of identity and makes a statement about her beliefs. However, this leads to cruel bullying from her classmates and shocking discrimination from teachers. Thankfully, Nisrin makes a new friend who supports her as she gradually comes to terms with her ordeal.

The distinctive artwork is integral to the story, and many pages contain no words, relying on the images to portray the characters’ intense emotions. A powerful, thought-provoking and, at times, uncomfortable read, which highlights important issues of racism, intolerance and self-discovery. Contains scenes of violence and descriptions of genocide.

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