Review of Milloo’s Mind: The Story of Maryam Faruqi, Trailblazer for Women’s Education

The Story of Maryam Faruqi, Trailblazer for Women’s EducationMilloo’s Mind: The Story of Maryam Faruqi, Trailblazer for Women’s Education
by Reem Faruqi; illus. by Hoda Hadadi
Primary    Harper/HarperCollins    40 pp.
1/23    9780063056619    $18.99

In 1930, Maryam “Milloo” Faruqi (the author’s grandmother) lived in India and was in fifth grade when her parents told her she didn’t need to go to school anymore. At that time, “this is what was expected” of girls. Milloo changed her parents’ minds, completing high school and college. Reading was the gateway to physical and emotional harmony. “When she read, her thoughts danced, her mind breathed, and her heart hummed.” After marriage, she was unhappy being a housewife, so she opened a school in her home, which led to several more schools in the region. Her legacy was providing education to thousands of girls and nurturing a love of reading and learning. Vivid verbs keep the text snappy, as, for example, Milloo “spun,” “cha-chaed,” “tiptoed,” “snaked,” and “danced” her way to school on a circuitous pathway. Paper collage illustrations in bright colors steal the show with lots of detail in textiles, which are embellished with stitching and gold-leaf accents. A glossary and author’s note contextualize terms, provide additional historical background, and describe Milloo’s other accomplishments, such as founding the Happy Home Schools in Pakistan. This visually impressive, heartwarming tale pays homage to a trailblazing advocate for literacy and education for girls in a predominantly Muslim context.

From the March/April 2023 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Julie Hakim Azzam

Calling Caldecott co-author Julie Hakim Azzam is the assistant director of the MFA program in the School of Art at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She holds a PhD in literary and cultrual studies, with a specialization in comparative contemporary postcolonial literature from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and Southeast Asia. Her most recent work focuses on children's literature, stories about immigrants and refugees, and youth coping with disability.

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