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You Must Be Layla

Written by Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Debuts of the Month Featured Books for 11+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers

LoveReading View on You Must Be Layla

Fresh, funny, heartfelt story of an irrepressibly enthusiastic migrant trying to survive and thrive in her new scholarship school

Boundlessly energetic Layla is over the moon when she’s offered a scholarship to a fancy school, but this exciting new chapter of her life gets off to the worst possible start when she stands up to a bully, who happens to be the son of a Very Important Person. Since Layla’s wise parents “had taught her to yell in the face of injustice,” she won’t remain silent when subjected to racism and islamophobia (“Get your towelhead face out of our school. In fact, get out of our COUNTRY. You’re not welcome here”), but it’s Layla who ends up being suspended. Never one to quit, cut loose or bow out, Layla bounces back by throwing herself into a high profile inter-school robotics invention competition, with many hilarious and moving true-to-life moments along the way. 

Throughout I adored Layla’s openness, her aptitude for shrugging off set-backs, taking suggestions on board and embracing change. As the You Must Be Layla title suggests, she’s a one-of-a-kind heroine, and this funny, thought-provoking novel - the first children’s book from inspirational Sudanese-born broadcaster, social advocate and mechanical engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied - is a one-of-a-kind bundle of comedy and compassion.

Joanne Owen

You Must Be Layla Synopsis

'If you want to invent something nobody has ever thought of before, you need to read the things that others don't read, look in the spaces other people are not in...'

Layla believes she was right to stand up for herself against a bully, but it's landed her a suspension - not the way she (or her parents) would have wished to begin her time at her fancy new school! This is just a setback though, and she's determined to prove that she does deserve her scholarship by making new friends and setting her sights on inventing something that could win the big robotics competition. But where to begin?

You Must Be Layla introduces Sudanese-born author, broadcaster, social advocate and mechanical engineer Yassmin Abdel-Magied as an exciting new voice in children's writing.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780241440490
Publication date: 06/02/2020
Publisher: Puffin an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780241440490
Publication date: 6th February 2020
Author: Yassmin Abdel-Magied
Publisher: Puffin an imprint of Penguin Books Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 304 pages
Suitable for: 11+ readers, 9+ readers
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month

About Yassmin Abdel-Magied

Yassmin Abdel-Magied is a Sudanese-Australian writer, broadcaster and social advocate with a background in mechanical engineering. Yassmin founded her first organization, Youth Without Borders, at the age of sixteen, published her debut memoir, Yassmin's Story, with Penguin Random House at age twenty-four, and followed up with her first fiction book for younger readers, You Must Be Layla, in 2019. An advocate for the empowerment of women, youth and people of colour, Yassmin has been awarded numerous awards for her advocacy, including the 2018 Young Voltaire Award for Free Speech. Yassmin has travelled to over twenty countries speaking to governments, NGOs and multinational ...

More About Yassmin Abdel-Magied

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