Tagging Freedom

Regular price $ 8.99

by Rhonda Roumani

Union Square Kids

11/7/2023, paperback

SKU: 9781454950721


Out of the revolutions across the Arab world, comes this inspirational story of hope, freedom, and belonging, perfect for fans of Other Words for Home and A Good Kind of Trouble.

Kareem Haddad of Damascus, Syria, never dreamed of becoming a graffiti artist. But when a group of boys from another town tag subversive slogans outside their school, and another boy is killed while in custody, Kareem and his friends are inspired to start secretly tag messages of freedom around their city.

Meanwhile, in the United States, his cousin, Samira, has been trying to make her own mark. Anxious to fit in at school, she joins the Spirit Squad where her natural artistic ability attracts the attention of the popular leader. Then Kareem is sent to live with Sam's family, and their worlds collide. As graffitied messages appear around town and all eyes turn to Kareem, Sam must make a choice: does she shy away to protect her new social status, or does she stand with her cousin?

Informed by her time as a journalist, author Rhonda Roumani's Tagging Freedom is a thoughtful look at the intersection between art and activism, infused with rich details and a realistic portrayal of how war affects and inspires children, similar to middle grade books for middle schoolers by Aisha Saeed, The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandi, or Refugee by Alan Gratz.

Target age: 8 to 12


"Thought-provoking and heartfelt, this novel parallels the struggles teens feel with loss and bullying situations to the oppression that citizens often feel when the government is deceitful. Preteens and teens will find this book relatable and real. An outstanding novel that hits its mark, demonstrating that young teens grapple with a gamut of emotions and situations yet are resilient enough to work through them and achieve success. Highly recommended." -- School Library Journal, Starred Review

"This is a must-read for those looking for more Arab and Muslim representation in middle-grade titles. Roumani skillfully weaves together two different points of view to create a powerful story of activism that captures the importance of standing up for yourself and advocating for others." -- Booklist

"This is a powerful read." -- BookRiot

About the Author:

Rhonda Roumani is a Syrian American journalist who lived in Syria as a reporter for U.S. newspapers. She has written about Islam, the Arab world, and Muslim-American issues for more than two decades. Currently, she is a contributing fellow at the Center for Religion and Civic Culture at USC. Rhonda lives in Connecticut with her family.