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Saadia Faruqi and Laura Shovan - A Place at the Table

Updated: Aug 21, 2020

Saadia Faruqi (@SaadiaFaruqi) and Laura Shovan (@LauraShovan) share A PLACE AT THE TABLE. This new middle grade novel in two voices examines the growing awareness of who you are outside of your family, an experience many of us go through as we enter middle school. It’s also available as an audiobook, and one so good, if I can just say, that I finished it in nearly a day. What brings Sara and Elizabeth together may start at an after school cooking club, but their friendship has all of the complexity of two individuals who are at the same time similar and different as can be. Saadia and Laura explore the experience of being a first-generation American through their main characters, drawing from each of their childhoods to tell a rich and beautiful story of navigating bias, confronting prejudice, defending friends, and protecting who you are uncompromisingly. The story asks readers to consider what makes a person privileged, and what to do if you recognize that privilege in your own experiences. As Saadia and Laura note in our conversation, so many kids want to stand up but don’t know how. This story is one answer to that question.

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A timely, accessible, and beautifully written story exploring themes of food, friendship, family and what it means to belong, featuring sixth graders Sara, a Pakistani American, and Elizabeth, a white, Jewish girl taking a South Asian cooking class taught by Sara’s mom.

Sixth graders Sara and Elizabeth could not be more different. Sara is at a new school that is completely unlike the small Islamic school she used to attend. Elizabeth has her own problems: her British mum has been struggling with depression. The girls meet in an after-school South Asian cooking class, which Elizabeth takes because her mom has stopped cooking, and which Sara, who hates to cook, is forced to attend because her mother is the teacher. The girls form a shaky alliance that gradually deepens, and they make plans to create the most amazing, mouth-watering cross-cultural dish together and win a spot on a local food show. They make good cooking partners . . . but can they learn to trust each other enough to become true friends? 


Saadia Faruqi (website)

Laura Shovan (website)


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