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Samira Surfs

Samira Surfs

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by Rukhsanna Guidroz & Fahmida Azim (Illustrations)

A sparkling middle-grade novel in verse about Samira, a twelve-year-old Rohingya refugee living in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, who finds peace, empowerment, and sisterhood in a local surf club for girls.

Samira thinks of her life as before and after: before the burning and violence in Burma (now Myanmar), when she and her best friend would play in the fields, and after, when her family was forced to flee. There's before the uncertain journey to Bangladesh by river, and after, when the river swallowed her nana and nani whole. And now, months after rebuilding a life in Bangladesh with her mama, baba, and brother, Khaled, there's before Samira saw the surfer girls, and after, when she decides she'll become one.

With Khaled's help, Samira pushes past her fear of the water and begins secret surf lessons. She forges a friendship with the Bengali surfer girls of Cox's Bazar and learns of a surf contest for kids that could change her life in so many ways. But as more Rohingya seek refuge in Cox's Bazar and the dynamics of her community change, it becomes harder for Samira to keep her surfing a secret, potentially putting her family at risk.

Samira Surfs, written by Rukhsanna Guidroz and illustrated by Fahmida Azim, is an effervescent novel in verse about a young girl's journey from isolation and persecution to sisterhood, and from fear to power as she reclaims her childhood.

Rukhsanna Guidroz has always been drawn to faraway places. This might have something to do with having a Persian-Indian father and a Chinese mother. After attending university in Europe, she bought a one-way ticket to Hong Kong. Working in journalism there was nothing short of thrilling, but it also made her hungry for a slower pace of life. Hawaii, by sheer accident, became her next stop and is now her home. She writes, teaches, and enjoys island life with her husband and two sons. Now, when she gets itchy feet, she turns to her writing and begins the next journey.

Fahmida Azim has illustrated many books, including her award-winning debut, Muslim Women Are Everything. Fahmida lives and creates in Seattle.