Set against the backdrop of Karachi, Pakistan, Saadia Faruqi’s tender and honest middle grade novel tells the story of two girls navigating a summer of change and family upheaval with kind hearts, big dreams, and all the right questions.
Mimi is not thrilled to be spending her summer in Karachi, Pakistan, with grandparents she’s never met. Secretly, she wishes to find her long-absent father, and plans to write to him in her beautiful new journal.
The cook’s daughter, Sakina, still hasn’t told her parents that she’ll be accepted to school only if she can improve her English test score—but then, how could her family possibly afford to lose the money she earns working with her Abba in a rich family’s kitchen?
Although the girls seem totally incompatible at first, as the summer goes on, Sakina and Mimi realize that they have plenty in common—and that they each need the other to get what they want most.
This relatable and empathetic story about two friends coming to understand each other will resonate with readers who loved Other Words for Home and Front Desk.
Saadia Faruqi is a Pakistani American writer, interfaith activist, and cultural-sensitivity trainer and is the author of the early-reader Yasmin series and A Thousand Questions. She resides in Houston, Texas, with her family.
“A Thousand Questions is infused with the author's abiding love for Pakistan and the cultural milieu of the country of her birth; the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of Karachi are brought alive with affection, authenticity, and attention to detail. And at the core of this story is an unlikely friendship that crosses boundaries and breaks barriers, the kind of friendship that will lift readers' hearts and leave them smiling.” — Padma Venkatraman, author of The Bridge Home, winner of the Walter Award for Young Readers
“With a big heart and a gentle touch, A Thousand Questions shows us how good friends can lend courage to each other, and how the right friendship at the right time can change your life. This is a beautiful book.” — Anne Ursu, author of Breadcrumbs
"Atmospheric and tender, this delightful story about the life-changing power of friendship is sure to capture the heart of many readers." — Jasmine Warga, author of Other Words For Home
"Faruqi’s descriptions of modern Karachi are rich with sensory detail...A thoughtful portrait of friendship across class lines in modern Pakistan." — Kirkus Reviews
"The likeable heroines develop a touching connection that enhances the fast-paced plot and counterpoints tense situations with their families. The novel’s observations about other societal issues—including religion, politics, wealth, and marriage—add thought-provoking touches." — Publishers Weekly
"Faruqi writes in first person, with chapters alternating between Mimi’s and Sakina’s points of view, with each revealing misconceptions about the other’s culture. As they learn from their differences and similarities, the narrative is enriched by the dual perspective. The inviting book-jacket image suggests the story’s distinctive setting, the girls’ backgrounds, and their relationship, three fundamental elements of this engaging chapter book." — Booklist
"Told through the girls' alternative points of view, the novel examines contemporary urban Pakistan in all its complexity. Faruqi threads issues of privilege, poverty, democracy, and the meaning of family throughout the book." — Horn Book Magazine