'If you want to invent something nobody has ever thought of before, you need to read the things that others don't read, look in the spaces other people are not in...'
Layla believes she was right to stand up for herself against a bully, but it's landed her a suspension - not the way she (or her parents) would have wished to begin her time at her fancy new school! This is just a setback though, and she's determined to prove that she does deserve her scholarship by making new friends and setting her sights on inventing something that could win the big robotics competition.
But where to begin?
You Must Be Layla introduces Sudanese-born author, broadcaster, social advocate and mechanical engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied as an exciting new voice in children's writing.
"...this warm, humorous account of a larger-than-life Sudanese girl navigating a posh Australian school is an engaging read for 12-plus." - The Guardian
This is a laugh out loud story about making friends, carving your way in the world and having the confidence to do things your way. Layla is a fabulous, plucky protagonist, and her inventive attitude to surmounting hurdles is inspiring. The book is also an introduction to thinking about some of the barriers people of colour can face, illustrated by Layla's older brother Ozzie who has been applying for jobs and not even getting interviews. It offers an insight into normal Muslim family life (the Australian setting will be effortlessly accessible to UK kids) together with a brilliant glossary of terms. This story is fresh and funny and is an empowering read - especially for girls and people of colour. A really great secondary school-age novel that everyone should read!
...this warm, humorous account of a larger-than-life Sudanese girl navigating a posh Australian school is an engaging read for 12-plus.
I adored Layla's openness, her aptitude for shrugging off set-backs, taking suggestions on board and embracing change. As the You Must Be Layla title suggests, she's a one-of-a-kind heroine, and this funny, thought-provoking novel - the first children's book from inspirational Sudanese-born broadcaster, social advocate and mechanical engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied - is a one-of-a-kind bundle of comedy and compassion.
Yassmin Abdel-Magied's You Must Be Layla is a tonic, and a terrific debut for 11+. Its narrator is (like its author) a Sudanese girl who has won a scholarship to a posh Australian school. Bossy, smart and brave, she has to face the students who have it in for her as the only Muslim. Underneath its buoyant humour is a timely wisdom about finding friends in an alien culture.
Sudanese-Australian activist Abdel-Magied's first novel is the sparkling tale of 13-year-old Layla, who moves to a new school, where she is the only pupil to wear a headscarf.