I enjoy reading children’s books from time to time.
It’s a welcome change of pace and helps to give me an insight into the stories that my kids read.
This is Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian.
My children picked his up from the public library during our last visit, and although they haven’t read it yet, I devoured it in one evening.
Stylistically it looks very similar to Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Liz Pichon’s Tom Gates books, in the way that the text is appealingly mixed with comic-style illustrations, doodles and words, and with a young male protagonist who has a wild imagination.
The main difference between Planet Omar and those series of books, however, is that Omar is from a British Muslim family of Pakistani heritage. This book is about Omar starting at a new school and his experience of bullying. It is also about his family celebrating Ramadan and Eid and moving into a new home.
Here’s the author, Zanib Mian talking about the book.
Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates, Omar is very funny and will appeal to children who enjoy those books. It also brilliantly explains Muslim traditions and culture in a way that is easy and digestible for children to understand.
Omar is a very relatable character that kids will love just as much as Tom Gates or Greg Heffley.
Diverse representation in children’s books is gradually improving, and there is a definite demand for it. Children need to see themselves in the books that they read.
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