For a while, I’ve been wanting to read Does My Head Look Big in This?, a novel by Randa Abdel-Fattah for ages 12 and up. Well, I finally picked up the book, and I’m so glad that I did! For me, Amal is a very relatable character. As soon as I started reading, I connected with her sense of humor, her frustrations about the way the world works sometimes, and her ability to have a lot of self confidence and a lot of self doubt at the same time.
What’s remarkable about instantly feeling like I know Amal is she’s pretty different from me. For one thing, she lives in Australia. For another, her parents are from Palestine. And finally, she’s Muslim and has just decided to wear the hijab, or head veil and modest dress, full-time.
Here are three questions I’d ask Amal:
1. Why do you think you decided to wear the hijab while watching that particular Friends rerun? Do you think something else would have inspired you to do it if you hadn’t decided right then?
2. From your experiences wearing the hijab to school, to the mall, on the bus, you’ve had to deal with people’s subtle — and not so subtle — reactions to it. It seems like sometimes it makes you feel self-conscious and nervous and sometimes it makes you feel strong and confident. Do you have a sense of which you feel more often?
3. In the course of the book, some of your relationships take surprising turns. Are you more surprised by how your relationship changed with Adam or with Mrs. Vaselli?
I would love to sit down with Amal over a cup of hot chocolate at her favorite café. One of the coolest things about reading books is getting a glimpse into a life unlike your own. But the best surprise with this book was how quickly I felt like I knew just where Amal was coming from.
Have you read it? If you’re a fan like me, then I have good news: Ten Things I Hate About Me, Randa Abdel-Fattah’s next book (also for ages 12 and up), will be out in January!
— Amy, Scholastic.com Editor