Amina’s Song is a companion novel to Hena Khan’s excellent Amina’s Voice (2017). Sometimes companion novels can feel like odd afterthoughts, addendums that might be welcome and enjoyable, but otherwise not really necessary. With Amina’s Song, this is not at all the case. The novel is just as powerful, important, and compelling as its predecessor. Just as she was in her first book, Amina is a wonderfully relatable, gloriously unique protagonist. However, Khan hasn’t just picked up right where she left her character at the end of the last book – Amina has grown since we left her, and continues to grow as Khan masterfully explores her complicated heart and mind.
One last thing to note about both of the Amina books is their length. Amina’s Voice is just under 200 pages – which is on the shorter side for contemporary, realistic Middle Grade novels. However, for many readers, that is something that made it especially attractive, and I believe that made the book accessible for a larger, broader audience. Amina’s Song is somewhat longer than Amina’s Voice – though still under 300 pages – but this works beautifully, as the readers who choose to continue reading Amina’s story will be pushed to complete a book that might be longer than they usually read, thereby building their confidence as readers. And there’s no way those who pick up this book won’t finish it. Khan is too gifted a storyteller. The taut plot and fine-tuned prose will keep kids reading until the end.
Note: While one certainly does not need to read Amina’s Voice in order to enjoy and get a lot out of Amina’s Song, the latter will be richer and more meaningful if readers are familiar with the former.
Jarrett Lerner is the author of EngiNerds, Revenge of the EngiNerds, The EngiNerds Strike Back, Geeger the Robot Goes to School, and Geeger the Robot: Lost and Found, as well as the author-illustrator of the activity book Give This Book a Title. Jarrett is also the author-illustrator of the forthcoming activity book Give This Book a Cover and the forthcoming Hunger Heroes graphic novel series (all published by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin). He cofounded and helps run the MG Book Village, an online hub for all things Middle Grade, and is the co-organizer of the #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors projects. He can be found at jarrettlerner.com and on Twitter and Instragram at @Jarrett_Lerner. He lives with his family in Medford, Massachusetts.