Loujain Dreams of Sunflowers by Lina AlHathloul and Uma Mishra-Newbery, illustrated by Rebecca Green

Published by mineditionUS

Summary:  Loujain dreams of flying to a beautiful field of sunflowers with her baba.  But in her community, only boys and men are allowed to fly.  All Loujain can do is put on a set of wings and run around the garden, pretending.  Baba tells her that she will fly “someday”.  Finally, Loujain confronts him and tells him that it’s not fair that boys can fly and she can’t.  She wants to learn to fly now.  Her wise mama tells him, “If you don’t support her, who will?  You have to believe things will change.  Otherwise they never will.”  Soon Loujain and Baba are getting up before sunrise for flying lessons.  One day he wakes her up extra early, telling her that they have a long flight to make.  It’s the field of sunflowers!  The next day, Loujain is in the news for defying the flying law.  Her parents are proud of her, and a young girl in the market sees her and immediately asks her baba to teach her to fly.  Includes a note about the real Loujain: Loujain AlHathloul, the author’s sister, who has been jailed for protesting the law prohibiting Saudi women from learning to drive.  40 pages; grades 1-5.

Pros:  This inspiring book would make an excellent discussion starter with older elementary students.  The information about Loujain AlHathloul gives a real-world example about protesting unjust laws.

Cons: The message of the book sometimes seemed to take priority over the story.

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