Fight Back

by A. M. Dassu

Ref: 17159

Shortlisted Little Rebels Award 2023

"It was the same old story- make up hateful things about the people you don't like so you can attack their identities and create division and fear."
After a terrorist attack at a K-pop concert in the Midlands, local racial tensions simmer and, ultimately, spill over. Aaliyah feels as if a spotlight is hovering over her. Determined to face down the bullies and counter the ugly stereotypes circulating about Muslims, she proudly puts on her hijab and speaks up. When her school then bans religious symbols, she feels painfully exposed. But she soon discovers she is not alone. Many of her friends are also being policed in their expression of religious and cultural identities, from being asked to remove rainbow badges to being sent home because of wearing braids. And this becomes a unifying force, galvanising them to organise, speak out, stand up and...sit down... in protest.

The 2nd novel from the winner of the Little Rebels Award for Radical Children's Fiction 2021 (with Boy, Everywhere). Could it be that wining the edgiest children's book award in town prompted Az Dassu to foreground political activism in her second novel? We like to think so! The power of young people's voices in the novel is striking. Not only does Dassu challenge racist and religious stereotypes, just as important to her is countering stereotypes of who makes up the far right. A nuanced work in empathy. Some great backnotes include a glossary of Sikh and Muslim terms, a section on allyship, a list of central themes and an author's note on the research carried out. Age 9-14, Paperback 370pp






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