Review of Hamra and the Jungle of Memories

Hamra and the Jungle of Memories Hamra and the Jungle of Memories
by Hanna Alkaf
Intermediate, Middle School    Harper/HarperCollins    400 pp.
3/23    9780063207950    $19.99
e-book ed.  9780063207974    $10.99

Hamra has just turned thirteen, though no one in her family seems to have noticed. Due to COVID-19, her home country of Malaysia is under quarantine, leaving her mother working long hours in an overrun hospital hours away, her father distracted by his duty to get supplies to those in need, and Hamra at home to care for her grandparents. While her grandfather often annoys her with his many far-fetched stories, her grandmother’s increasing dementia worries and even angers her. Adults are supposed to take care of children, after all. To escape the pressures of caring for elders, Hamra goes to the jungle. When she recklessly takes fruit from the magical jambu tree, a weretiger demands she accompany him on a quest as payment for stealing. If she succeeds, the weretiger will remember his humanity, and her grandmother’s dementia will be cured. Accompanied by her best friend, Ilyas, Hamra embarks on a quest where she must face her fears and find the courage to save her family and herself. A compelling story about family, friendship, and the power of memory, filled with Islamic traditions and Malay folklore.

Pubissue-From the May/June 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

S. R. Toliver

S. R. Toliver is an assistant professor of literacy and secondary humanities at the University of Colorado Boulder. Her public and academic scholarship can be found on her website Follow her on Twitter @SR_Toliver.

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