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Summary: Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun
Ten-year-old Zara has been crowned Queen of the Neighborhood by a loving neighbor. Zara makes fair rules for all the games she and her brother Zayd play with the other kids and Zara likes things just like that. But when her neighbor, Mr. Chapman moves out, a new family moves in. Their daughter Naomi has other ideas for playing and the other kids seem to like many of her ideas too.
To win back her crown, Zara decides she’ll try to break a World Guiness Record. But as time goes on, she realizes that it may just be better to share her crown instead.
This was such a fun and relatable story. As the “organizer” in my childhood, I know how threatening it can feel when someone seems to be competition against your influence. It’s a big learning experience for Zara as she sees that Naomi is kind and friendly and just wants to be friends.
I also loved the ethnic diversity in Zara’s neighborhood. She had Black friends and the new neighbors were Jewish. All the kids had distinct personalities and I loved seeing them have a good time. Zara’s family also star in the story with a nice subplot for Zara and Zayd’s relationship as siblings and her relationship with her grandparents too.
The audiobook is also great — I ended up listening since I couldn’t find a minute to sit and read.
Overall: Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun
Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun is the start of a beautiful chapter book series about a young Pakistani-American heroine and her friends and family. This sweet chapter book from master storyteller Hena Khan contains lovely black and white illustrations and short chapters. Zara and her friends remind me of my childhood, of playing OUTSIDE and making up games and rules for friends. Full of family, love, joy, and poignant lessons, this is a great pick for readers ages 7 and up.
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