April 2, 2024

REVIEW Drawing Deena by Hena Khan

Drawing Deena by Hena Khan
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: February 6, 2024
Format: ARC (Courtesy of Publisher) and Audiobook (Borrowed from Library) 
Publisher: Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Hena Khan’s Drawing Deena is a beautiful middle-grade contemporary read that speaks to the power of family, culture and social media. Narrator Reena Dutt did a great job bringing the story to life with her performance in the audiobook. 

Deena is a young Pakistani girl who enjoys art, yet suffers from worries over her family’s money situation and anxiety. I really appreciated how the author portrayed Deena’s struggles, as it touched on how difficult of a time middle school can be in one’s life. Mental health struggles don’t wait for someone to be an adult, and the way the author approached the topic was very accessible for young readers. Seeing Deena ask for help once the adults realized she had anxiety was also important, as it may inspire other young readers to do the same. Like many middle-grade protagonists, Deena is a kind soul and I found myself rooting for her to find her path and overcome her struggles. I also enjoyed how the author included cultural references, like the different clothing pieces that Deena’s mother sells in her boutique along with references to celebrations like Eid. 

Overall, this was a great read and I would definitely check out more books by Hena Khan in the future. Thank you to Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers and Salaam Reads for providing me with a complimentary copy of the book. I appreciate the opportunity to read and review Drawing Deena immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed the book. All opinions expressed in the review are my own and not influenced in any way. 

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