TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour

The TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour is your opportunity to learn from and build personal connections with extraordinary book creators and their brand-new titles. Included in all Virtual Book Tour posts are original interviews with authors and illustrators, lesson plans, an activity designed for young people, and much more!

Welcome Hena Khan

Hena Khan on Amina’s Song

In this post, we feature award-winning author Hena Khan. You can hear her speak about her new novel, Amina’s Song, a companion to Amina’s Voice, an ALA Notable Children’s Book, and try her fun “invitation to imagine” activity. You’ll also find other resources to explore. Thanks for joining us, and let us know what you think in the comments below!

Author Hena Khan and the cover of her novel Amina's Song.

Amina’s Song

  • Written by Hena Khan
  • Published by Salaam Reads, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
  • Release date: March 9, 2021

Amina has loved her vacation in Pakistan. The food, the shops, the time she’s spent with her family—all of it holds a special place in her heart. Now that the school year is starting again, she’s excited to share the wonders of Pakistan with her friends back in Greendale. After she’s home, though, her friends don’t seem overly interested in her trip. And when she decides to do a presentation on Pakistani hero Malala Yousafzai, her classmates focus on the worst parts of the story. How can Amina share the beauty of Pakistan when no one wants to listen?

From Amina’s Song, by Hena Khan.

I take a deep breath, ignoring the trembling in my legs, and walk to the front of the class. Fighting the desire to run away, I search for a friendly face to focus on, clear my throat, and start to speak.

Read a longer excerpt from Amina’s Song, by Hena Khan.

Explore Amina’s Song

Listen to Hena Khan talking with TeachingBooks about creating Amina’s Song. You can click the player below or experience the recording on TeachingBooks, where you can read along as you listen, and also translate the text to another language.

Invitation to Imagine

TeachingBooks asks each author or illustrator on our Virtual Book Tour to share a writing prompt, a drawing exercise, or just an interesting question to spark curiosity and creativity. Enjoy the following activity contributed by Hena Khan.

Imagination Activity with Hena Khan

When I come up with the idea for a book, it often begins with a feeling. We all know what it feels like to be scared to do something. We’ve all wished a friend would be nicer. And we’ve all definitely hoped for something in our lives to change. Sometimes we feel alone in our feelings, but most other people have felt the same way at some point. And that’s what connects readers to stories—the feelings they create.

What are some strong feelings that you had recently—maybe about something you’ve wanted to try, about a friend, or about the world? Make a quick list of these feelings. Then, pick one of them and write a short scene about a character (it doesn’t have to be you!) sharing or dealing with those feelings. Maybe what you come up with will inspire you to turn it into a story! 

Finish This Sentence . . . with Hena Khan

As part of our Virtual Book Tour, TeachingBooks asks authors and illustrators to complete short sentence prompts. Enjoy Hena Khan’s response.

“A surprising thing that helps me work is . . .”

A surprising thing that helps me work is taking naps. When I’m writing, I sometimes get stuck and feel like I need to lie down and think about my story, or my characters, and try to work out scenes in my head. I often close my eyes while I do this, and that turns into a little nap. But I usually wake up ready to keep going again!

Thank you!

To wrap up this Virtual Book Tour, we thank Hena Khan for signing a book for all of us.

The title page of Amina's Song, signed by the author, Hena Khan, with the message, "Thank you for sharing in Amina's journey!"

More Connections to Hena Khan and Amina’s Song

Explore all of the titles featured in the TeachingBooks Virtual Book Tour: one link with author interviews, lesson plans, activities, and more!

All text and images are courtesy of Hena Khan and Simon & Schuster and may not be used without expressed written consent.

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