In Priya Huq’s middle-grade graphic novel Piece by Piece, Nisrin will have to rely on faith, friends, and family to help her recover after she is the target of a hate crime
Nisrin is a 13-year-old Bangladeshi American girl living in Milwaukie, Oregon, in 2002. As she nears the end of eighth grade, she gives a presentation for World Culture Day about Bangladesh while wearing a traditional cultural dress. On her way home, she is the victim of a hate crime when a man violently attacks her for wearing a headscarf.
Deeply traumatized by the experience, Nisrin spends the summer depressed and isolated. Other than weekly therapy, Nisrin doesn’t leave the house until fall arrives and it’s time for her to start freshman year at a new school. The night before class starts, Nisrin makes a decision. She tells her family she’s going to start wearing hijab, much to their dismay. Her mother and grandparent’s shocked and angry reactions confuse her—but they only strengthen her resolve.
This choice puts Nisrin on a path to not only discover more about Islam but also her family’s complicated relationship with the religion and the reasons they left Bangladesh in the first place. On top of everything else, she’s struggling to fit in at school—her hijab makes her a target for students and faculty alike. But with the help from old friends and new, Nisrin is starting to figure out what really makes her happy.
Piece by Piece is an original graphic novel about growing up and choosing your own path, even if it leads you to a different place than you expected.
“‘Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin’s Hijab,’ by Priya Huq, is a triumph, a beautifully layered graphic novel about a girl recovering from a hate crime in 2002, and the trauma of a generation before, when her mother’s family fled the 1971 genocide in Bangladesh… Huq creates a powerful visual language through color and scale.”The New York Times
"Huq does an outstanding job of using expressive characters and color to present the harshness of her experience. . .The story is buoyed by quiet moments of beauty and an uplifting ending that emphasizes the crucial role supportive friends and family can play in helping young people face trauma and move toward healing."Booklist
"This gripping graphic novel is fast-paced and dramatic, with full-color illustrations that intensify the heightened emotions. . .Remarkable storytelling presents a multilayered struggle around identity and power in an anti-Muslim climate."Kirkus Reviews
"A welcome exploration of what it means to navigate the complexities of Muslim identity in the United States."School Library Journal