Just Imagine

Planet Omar, Accidental Trouble Magnet

Authored by Zainab Mian
Illustrated by Nasaya Mafaridik
Published by Hodder Children’s Books

This book centres on a Muslim family who have recently moved house in London. It is told through the voice of Omar as he starts a new school and makes new friends.

Omar, his 13-year-old older sister Maryam and three year-old younger brother Esa have moved as his mum and dad are both scientists and his mum has just taken a new dream job working in cancer research. The story takes us through Omar’s nervousness starting a new school, his family settling in and getting to know their new neighbour. All this is told in a thoroughly entertaining and humorous way as Omar is a wonderful character. The illustrated pages really capture Omar’s humour and character and there are some great different fonts used for words and phrases throughout that really bring the story to life.

This would be a great whole class read and could be read aloud purely for enjoyment as it is such a good story and Omar is a lot of fun as the main character. Each chapter also offers up many opportunities for discussion too, so there is depth for teachers to have discussions around the situations Omar finds himself and different aspects of the Muslim faith that come up incidentally within the storyline and are explained so simply and naturally through Omar too. There are also many opportunities to discuss feelings and empathise with Omar as the situations he finds himself in throughout the book are very believable, authentic situations that many children will relate to.

Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet was originally published as The Muslims and won the 2018 Little Rebels Book Award under this title.