What to read after... Dread Wood 28/02/24
You Must Be Layla
13 year-old Layla is clever, ambitious and funny. She's left her comfortable Islamic school in Brisbane, Australia and is starting a scholarship at a private school where she is the first (and only) child to wear a Muslim headscarf. The first week is hardly welcoming, but Layla’s determined to make this work - even though she ends up being suspended for fighting back against a prejudiced bully. Layla decides the best way to really prove herself and her right to be at the school is to win a big regional robotics competition with her very ambitious invention. But can she do it alone – especially when the boy who bullied her is on the other team?
This is a smart, laugh-out-loud story about making friends, carving your way in the world and having the confidence to do things your way. Layla is a determined, plucky protagonist, and her inventive attitude to surmounting hurdles is inspiring.
Layla’s story also offers an insight into normal Muslim family life and some of the barriers people of colour can face, while the Australian setting will be effortlessly accessible to UK readers. With strong themes of friendship, equality and respect, this story is fresh, funny and empowering read.