Does My Head Look Big in This? Background

Does My Head Look Big in This? Background

Does My Head Look Big in This is a Young Adult Contemporary novel written by Randa Abdel-Fattah. It was published on August 1, 2005, by Pan MacMillan Australia. Randa is an Egyptian-Palestinian author who lives in Australia and has won Kathleen Mitchell Award.

The story takes place in Melbourne, Australia, where a Muslim girl called Amal decides it's time to finally wear her hijab, a Muslim headscarf women wear. She realizes that it is a life-changing decision when she finds all those around her react differently. The story mentions some misconceptions about Islam and Hijab, presents reaction of other classmates and teacher, and portrays her emotions as a teenage girl being ridiculed by some of her peer. The novel overall illustrates the racism, religious discrimination and prejudice that continues in many parts of the world, including developed and multicultural country like Australia, where she lives. Yet, Amal's figure as a strong woman who never changes her belief and identity as a Muslim gives the reader a sense of her courage and bravery.

Randa Abdel-Fattah's identity inspired her to write the book since she was 15, especially when she decided to wear the veil when she was 13 years old. She says that the book reflects a lot of experiences from her own life and that when she was first writing about the idea of the book, it turned out as an 'angry rant of a teenager', so she decided to use humor instead.

Does My Head Look Big in This received many positive reviews when it was published, being a novel that addresses religious prejudice in a humorous, contemporary way that everyone including adults and children can relate to, and be engaged in. It earned a 3.6 out of a 5 star rating on Goodreads, with a positive review written about it: "Brilliantly funny and poignant, Randa Abdel-Fattah's debut novel will strike a chord in all teenage readers, no matter what their beliefs." Commonsense media says: "Abdel-Fattah, who describes herself as "an Australian-born-Muslim-Palestinian-Egyptian-chocoholic," gives voice to girls underrepresented in literature and the popular media."

The novel is one that many teens, especially those who have different ethnic backgrounds than their community, will relate to the story and enjoy it. Readers will get a closer feel of how racism feels, and how a strong character with determination will be able to defeat it.

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