Saturday, October 29, 2022

Zara's Rules for Finding Hidden Treasure

Khan, Hena. Zara's Rules for Finding Hidden Treasure
October 18, 2022 by Salaam Reads
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Zara and her new friend Naomi, who moved into the neighborhood in Zara's Rules for Record Breaking Fun  have ridden their bikes to the park, and while they are playing, someone steals Zara's brand new bike. Because she forgot to lock it up (she never locked up her old bike, but then no one wanted to steal it), her parents decide that she's going to have to earn the money to buy the replacement. She and Naomi rule out a lemonade stand, but when Zara's mother discovers that Zara's grandmother and grandfather have let their basement fill up with lots of junk, Zara has the idea to do a rolling garage sale in her neighborhood. Unfortunately, she mixes up the boxes her mother says she can sell, and dips into "keepsakes" along with "knick knacks". Naomi tries to get Zara to clean out her room as well, but as Zara reflects on why she is keeping things she no longer uses, she understands why her grandmother doesn't want to get rid of things. This becomes clear to Zara's mother as well when she realizes that Zara has sold some of her treasured possessions. The grandparents are celebrating their 40th anniversary, and after attending Naomi's brother Michael's bar mitzvah, Zara gets some good ideas for the party and works with her friends to use some of the pictures she finds in the basement to put together some keepsakes. Her grandmother does clean out her basement and has a garage sale, which gives Zara just enough money to get a gently used bike as a charity shop run by her mosque.
Strengths: Zara's neighborhood is a great one, and I love that Zara and Naomi are still allowed to ride their bikes around and go to the park alone. The lesson about letting other people find value in their "junk" is an important one, but I appreciated that the grandmother still cleaned out things like an old toaster oven. There are fun illustrations accompanying this, and it's a perfect purchase for elementary schools where books like Nina Soni and Cleo Edison Oliver are popular. As adults, it's hard to remember how impossible it seems to make money of one's own as a child. I remember searching couch cushions for coins with my cousin; now, no one has coins in their pockets, cutting off an important source of childhood income!
Weaknesses: The grandparents are in their mid sixties and are not fit enough to go up and down stairs? I'm seeing more and more of this, and it's hitting too close to home. Excuse me a minute while I do sevearl laps down to my basement and back, just to prove a point! 
What I really think: I really wish that Khan hadn't gone back in time to when Zayd was younger; I wish she had written stories about an older Zara, because those would be great for my library. Maybe next time!

Ms. Yingling

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