BOOK REVIEW: A super spy with a golden heart

Monday 24th February 2020 10:45 EST

Zanib Mian's second book in the series of Planet Omar comes with great mix of humour and easy explanations for Muslim or Asian traditions.

The story of 'Planet Omar: Unexpected Super Spy' is about Omar and his friends, who have been saving up their pocket money to go and see the world's most epic Nerf Blaster battle. But, they came to know that their local mosque was in trouble with rotting roof, that needed £30,000 to fix, so they decided not to travel but to put their pennies together and raise money to help save it.

Planet Omar is a relatively new series, where Omar's life revolves around his family (parents, younger brother Esa, older sister Maryam), his school and friends Charlie and Daniel. The book is a bit like the Diary of Wimpy Kids- but with Asian traditions in the backdrop- a welcome change in the usual children's books.

Omar in bid to raise money for the mosque included a spa and a talent contest judged by Lancelot Macintosh, who becomes the prime suspect when the mosque money goes missing and the boys turn into spies. Can they work out who has taken it in time to stop the mosque closing down? And what exactly is Omar's sister Maryam hiding in her room?

The illustrations by Nasaya Mafaridik are jolly and the writing is easy, with gentle mix of humour, and crash course in Muslim culture- something quite fresh and necessary.

Zanib started writing books when she felt that diverse characters from all minorities and backgrounds weren't being fully represented in books for young children. She regularly features in the Bradford Literature Festival. Nasaya is based in Indonesia. Self taught she has a passion for children's books and bright, colourful stationary.

Planet Omar: Unexpected Super Spy will be published on 6 March 2020, £7.99. 

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