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You Must Be Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Updated: Mar 24, 2023

Meet Layla – an incredibly intelligent, hilariously cheeky Muslim teen whose hunger for adventure is about to take a new and exciting turn! Living in Australia, Sudanese-born Layla has moved on from the community Islamic School of Brisbane to attend a new prestigious private school in the hopes of branching out. But with her long skirt and hijab, Layla finds herself oppressed and bullied compared to the all welcoming, wonderfully diverse ISB. Yet Layla isn’t about to let some heckles and threats bring her down, and in her determination to stand up for herself, Layla is faced with immediate suspension and the loss of her scholarship. Desperate to prove to everyone that she should stay, Layla sets her sights on inventing something amazing that could win the big robotics competition and earn her rightful place back at MMG. But will it be enough to redeem herself with an winning entry?

Heartwarming and utterly original, Yassmin Abdel-Magied’s debut children’s book is not to be missed. Expertly balancing hard-hitting subjects with some laugh out loud moments, Yassmin uses her voice to touch on themes surrounding bullying, racism and identity, but also about girls in STEM subjects and the importance of using your voice.

It was inspiring to see the similarities and parallels between Yassmin and her protagonist. As an award-winning activist, broadcaster and former mechanical engineer, Yassmin radiates her uniqueness, passion and virtue into Layla, making Layla a loveable and bold character you’ll root for throughout and who will stay with you long after the last page.

Yassmin is a powerful new voice in children’s literature and I can’t wait to see what she does next.



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