Thursday, March 24, 2022

Review: Zara's Rules for Record-Breaking Fun by Hena Khan

Today's read comes from an author, whose works I've read and enjoyed before, but it was the title and the girl on the cover, which made me want to really take a peek. Doesn't she sound and look like a girl with tons of spunk and ideas? 

So, let's see how fun this one gets. 

by Hena Khan
Illustrated by Wastana Haikal
Salaam Reads
Middle Grade Contemporary
144 pages
ages 4 to 8

APRIL 19th!!!

From the beloved author of Amina’s Voice comes the first book in a humor-filled middle grade series starring a young Muslim girl with an endless list of hobbies who searches for ways to maximize fun for her family and neighborhood friends.

Meet Zara Saleem, the queen of the neighborhood.

Zara’s in charge of it all: she organizes the games, picks the teams, and makes sure everyone has a good time…and they always do.

When a new family moves in across the street, suddenly Zara’​s reign is threatened by Naomi, who has big ideas of her own about how the neighborhood kids can have fun. To get everyone to notice her again, Zara decides she’s going to break a Guinness World Record—if her little brother Zayd doesn’t mess things up.

But when she finds herself increasingly alone in her record-breaking quest, Zara starts to wonder if sharing the crown and making a new friend might end up being the best rule of all.



New neighbors, old friends, a little jealousy, and tons of ideas come together to create a fun read.

The nicest man in the world has moved away, leaving Zara and her family wondering who will move into the house across the street next. When the moving van pulls up and two kids appear, Zara and her neighborhood friends are a bit nervous. Being the Queen of the Neighborhood, Zara forces courage and brings cookies to greet the newcomers. What she doesn't expect is that the new girl is gaining quite a bit of attention from everyone. Soon, Zara feels a little ignored, but it's nothing she can't handle. She has a new goal and plans to breaking a world record. She just has to figure out which one it will be...and keep her eye on that new neighbor so she doesn't steal her 'Queen' position completely.

Especially lower middle graders will effortlessly slide into this tale. The writing fits the age group very well, and the tale flows smoothly. Each character comes across naturally and could be the kid next door. The situations are familiar and readers will have no trouble identifying with the insecurities involved when a new person joins a group of friends. It's a wholesome read with tons of heart, circling around neighbors, family, and friendships.

The author allows various cultures and traditions to weave into an everyday neighborhood. Zara's family holds their traditions dear, especially when it comes to foods, and the other kids aren't any different. While the reader is introduced to the various details, these flow right into the story without an extra wink or blink. Even when the new family brings their own traditions with them, no true attention is given or comments made from the other characters. It just flows together naturally.

This is great for fans of real life stories with characters to befriend. There's a bit of tension, and a gentle message or two. It will be fun to see what Zara and her friends will experience next.

And here she is...

Hena Khan is a Pakistani American writer. She is the author of the middle grade novels Amina’s VoiceAmina’s Song, More to the Story, and the Zara’s Rules series and picture books Golden Domes and Silver LanternsUnder My Hijab, and It’s Ramadan, Curious George, among others. Hena lives in her hometown of Rockville, Maryland, with her family. You can learn more about Hena and her books by visiting her website at or connecting with her @HenaKhanBooks.

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