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Ask Me No Questions

Ask Me No Questions Cover

ISBN13: 9781416903512
ISBN10: 1416903518
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Nadira and her family are illegal aliens, fleeing to the Canadian border — running from the country they thought was their home. For years since emigrating from Bangladesh, they have lived on expired visas in New York City, hoping they could someday realize their dream of becoming legal citizens of the United States. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly, being Muslim means being dangerous, a suspected terrorist. And when Nadira's father is arrested and detained at the border, Nadira and her older sister, Aisha, are sent back to Queens and told to carry on, as if everything is the same. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; But of course nothing is the same. Nadira and Aisha live in fear they'll have to return to a Bangladesh they hardly know. Aisha, always the responsible one, falls apart. It's up to Nadira to find a way to bring her family back together again. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt; Critically acclaimed author Marina Budhos has given us a searing portrait of contemporary America in the days of terrorism, orange alerts, and the Patriot Act, and a moving and important story about something most people take for granted — citizenship and acceptance in their country.

Review:

"As Budhos's (House of Waiting, for adults) provocative novel opens, 14-year-old narrator Nadira Hossain and her family are heading north to Canada, seeking asylum from the harassment that has become routine in the U.S. in the wake of 9/11. The family left Bangladesh for America eight years ago on a tourist visa and stayed; the first lawyer they hired to make them legal citizens was a fraud, the second was unsuccessful. At Flushing High in Queens, with a large population of immigrant students, the 'policy' is 'Ask me no questions,' according to Nadira. But just as her sister, Aisha, is interviewing at colleges like Barnard, with a shot at valedictorian, the questions start coming hard and fast to the people of their community — some of whom disappear in the night with immigration officers, detained for months before being deported. In a desperate move, the Hossains travel to Canada, where they are turned away; their father, Abba, is placed in a U.S. jail cell at the border, their mother remains in a shelter nearby, and the girls return to Queens to stay with their aunt and uncle. The message drives the story here; the motivations of the characters are not always clear, and the ending may strike some as a bit tidy. But the events of the novel are powerful enough to engage readers' attention and will make them pause to consider the effects of a legal practice that preys on prejudice and fear. Ages 10-14." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The author of "Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers" pens a moving story about two teenage sisters, originally from Bangladesh, whose family lives illegally in New York City. After 9/11, immigration regulations change, forcing the family to seek asylum.

About the Author

andlt;bandgt;Marina Budhosandlt;/bandgt; is the author of such books as andlt;iandgt;Ask Me No Questionsandlt;/iandgt;, andlt;iandgt;Tell Us We're Homeandlt;/iandgt;, andandnbsp;andlt;iandgt;Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers.andlt;/iandgt; She has received an EMMA (Exceptional Merit Media Award) and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award for women writers. Ms. Budhos has been a Fulbright Scholar in India, has given talks throughout the country and abroad, and has taught at several universities and colleges. She is currently an associate professor of English at William Paterson University. She lives with her husband and fellow Atheneum author, Marc Aronson, and their two sons in Maplewood, New Jersey.andnbsp;You can visit her online at marinabudhos.com.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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richiespicks.com, September 12, 2006 (view all comments by richiespicks.com)
"...And it's a story, ladies and gentlemen, that I didn't read in a book, or learn in a classroom. I saw it and lived it, like many of you. I watched a small man with thick calluses on both his hands work 15 and 16 hours a day. I saw him once literally bleed from the bottoms of his feet, a man who came here uneducated, alone, unable to speak the language, who taught me all I needed to know about faith and hard work by the simple eloquence of his example. I learned about our kind of democracy from my father. And I learned about our obligation to each other from him and from my mother. They asked only for a chance to work and to make the world better for their children, and they -- they asked to be protected in those moments when they would not be able to protect themselves. This nation and this nation's government did that for them.

"And that they were able to build a family and live in dignity and see one of their children go from behind their little grocery store in South Jamaica on the other side of the tracks where he was born, to occupy the highest seat, in the greatest State, in the greatest nation, in the only world we know, is an ineffably beautiful tribute to the democratic process..."

--Mario Cuomo, from his keynote address at the 1984 Democratic National Convention.

So here we are, counting down the days leading up to the fifth anniversary of 9/11. For some of us who are in the fortunate position of having had ancestors come to America a century or more before, and who recognize that good fortune, such commemorations heighten the recognition that we sit today in collective judgment as to whether those currently outside our borders (or illegally within our borders), who dream the same dreams our forebears did, should be permitted similar opportunities as those from which we benefit.

"I like the shores of America!
Comfort is yours in America!
Knobs on the doors in America,
Wall-to-wall floors in America!
" -- Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, America from West Side Story (1957)

Of course, many would say, the world of my own immigrant Sicilian grandparents was a different world -- different circumstances. And they would be right. My grandmother arrived by boat with her siblings and parents a few years before the Wright brothers' first successful flight; my grandfather sailed from Palermo a few years after Kitty Hawk became a household name. Now the sort of aircraft that Wilbur and Orville could never have imagined in their wildest dreams have been used to change the world forever.

But what of those people who, like my grandparents, have done their best in today's world to make those American dreams come true for their own children, even if their efforts aren't always one hundred percent legal? Where does the crackdown that 9/11 spawned leave them?

I expect that this will be a potentially frightening week for anyone in America who is Muslim or who might be mistaken for being Muslim.

"The thing is, we've always lived this way -- floating, not sure where we belong. In the beginning we lived so that we could pack up any day, fold up all our belongings into the same nylon suitcases. Then, over time, Abba relaxed. We bought things. A fold-out sofa where Ma and Abba could sleep. A TV and a VCR. A table and a rice cooker. Yellow ruffle curtains and clay pots for the chili peppers. A pine bookcase for Aisha's math and chemistry books. Soon it was like we were living in a dream of a home. Year after year we went on, not thinking about Abba's expired passport in the dresser drawer, or how the heat and the phone bills were in a second cousin's name. You forget you don't really exist here, that this really isn't your home. One day, we said, we'd get the paperwork right. In the meantime we kept going. It happens. All the time."

9/11 was a personal and deadly tragedy for thousands of Americans and their families. And it was also a black day for illegal aliens like Nadira, her big sister, Aisha, and their parents who had the ill-fortune a number of years ago of hiring an incompetent attorney when they'd attempted to stay in the country legally. Nadira's older sister Aisha is within striking distance of being valedictorian of her high school class when, in the wake of 9/11, the government begins tightening laws and hauling in Muslims and the girls' father decides the best thing to do is for the family to head for the Canadian border with their expired visa and request asylum. When they reach the border they are forced to turn around and the girls' father is promptly arrested because of the expired visa. Mom finds refuge in a shelter near the border where her husband is being held, while the girls are forced to return to New York City to be looked after by relatives and pseudo-relatives, to try to continue their schooling while waiting indefinitely for the American government to make its next move.

Nadira, who narrates the story and has always existed in the shadows of her brilliant and fashionable older sister, finds herself having to step out into the light as Aisha falls into despair over the loss of her American dreams.

"On the way back from school Aisha repeats to me, 'We're going to hear from the lawyer, Nadira. Today. Or our letter, it's going to be answered. I know it.'
"But when we get to the mailbox, it's empty. And there are no messages on the machine.
"Aisha becomes obsessed. Every day there's no letter in the mailbox from Homeland Security, no phone call from the lawyer. Every evening that we speak to Ma and hear there's no news there, either. Aisha grows more frantic. At night she goes over her homework again and again. She gets up early to go to school, studying in the empty classrooms. She's like a boxer, jabbing and hitting, trying her old moves, but this time she's up against something that so much bigger than her, beyond her power.
" I wish I could just put a hand to her skin, stop her whirring inside. "Soon Aisha is barely going out. She sits in Taslima's room and stares out the window. Her hair looks greasy; she hasn't even bothered to press coconut oil into her scalp or run her fingers through the kinks. She keeps wearing that stupid Destiny's Child T-shirt, and when no one's home, she sneaks into the living room and watches soaps on TV."

Imagine what it would be like to be an American in the wrong country at the wrong time with all the rules changing, just when after years that country was feeling like it was home.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781416903512
Publisher:
Atheneum Books
Subject:
Family - General
Author:
Budhos, Marina
Author:
Scianna, Ferdinando
Subject:
Children's 12-Up - Fiction - General
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Social Situations - Prejudice & Racism
Subject:
High schools
Subject:
People & Places - Middle East
Subject:
Situations / Prejudice & Racism
Subject:
Social Issues - Prejudice & Racism
Subject:
Social Issues - Emigration & Immigration
Subject:
Family
Subject:
New york (n.y.)
Subject:
Schools
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction-Prejudice and Racism
Subject:
Children s Young Adult-Social Issue Fiction
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
February 2006
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
from 7
Language:
English
Illustrations:
f-c jkt
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 10.255 oz
Age Level:
10-10

Related Subjects

Children's » General
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Emigration and Immigration
Young Adult » Fiction » Social Issues » Prejudice and Racism

Ask Me No Questions
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 176 pages Atheneum Books - English 9781416903512 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "As Budhos's (House of Waiting, for adults) provocative novel opens, 14-year-old narrator Nadira Hossain and her family are heading north to Canada, seeking asylum from the harassment that has become routine in the U.S. in the wake of 9/11. The family left Bangladesh for America eight years ago on a tourist visa and stayed; the first lawyer they hired to make them legal citizens was a fraud, the second was unsuccessful. At Flushing High in Queens, with a large population of immigrant students, the 'policy' is 'Ask me no questions,' according to Nadira. But just as her sister, Aisha, is interviewing at colleges like Barnard, with a shot at valedictorian, the questions start coming hard and fast to the people of their community — some of whom disappear in the night with immigration officers, detained for months before being deported. In a desperate move, the Hossains travel to Canada, where they are turned away; their father, Abba, is placed in a U.S. jail cell at the border, their mother remains in a shelter nearby, and the girls return to Queens to stay with their aunt and uncle. The message drives the story here; the motivations of the characters are not always clear, and the ending may strike some as a bit tidy. But the events of the novel are powerful enough to engage readers' attention and will make them pause to consider the effects of a legal practice that preys on prejudice and fear. Ages 10-14." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , The author of "Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers" pens a moving story about two teenage sisters, originally from Bangladesh, whose family lives illegally in New York City. After 9/11, immigration regulations change, forcing the family to seek asylum.
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