Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award — Winner, Young Adult • High Plains Book Award — Winner, Young Adult • Red Maple Fiction Award — Shortlisted • Snow Willow Award — Shortlisted

Sadia wishes life in high school was as straightforward as a game of basketball.

Fifteen-year-old Sadia Ahmadi is passionate about one thing: basketball. Her best friend Mariam, on the other hand, wants to get noticed by the popular crowd and has started de-jabbing, removing her hijab, at school every morning. Sadia’s mom had warned her that navigating high school could be tricky. As much as she hates to admit it, her mom was right.

When tryouts for an elite basketball team are announced, Sadia jumps at the opportunity. Her talent speaks for itself. Her head scarf, on the other hand, is a problem; especially when a discriminatory rule means she has to choose between removing her hijab and not playing. Mariam, Sadia’s parents, and her teammates all have different opinions about what she should do. But it is Sadia who has to find the courage to stand up for herself and fight for what is right — on and off the court.


Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award
Red Maple Fiction Award
High Plains Book Award, Young Adult Category
SYRCA Snow Willow Award


Fifteen-year-old Sadia Ahmadi, a Muslim immigrant from Syria, learns that young voices can still be powerful in Nelson’s story about being loyal to one’s beliefs.

Publishers Weekly

Both subtle and distinctive … Compelling and relevant.


Will be appreciated by readers eager for representation of female Muslim characters.

School Library Journal

This book comes at a time when it is most needed, offering a powerful and positive antidote to knee jerk racism and social media fuelled culture wars … but moreover, it is a compelling, tightly written, and keenly heartfelt story with a classic identity conflict in the midst of flawed humanity.

Canadian Materials

deftly explores the differences between the immigrant experience and the refugee experience

Winnipeg Free Press

Nelson has done a great job depicting the Muslim-Canadian experience of these teenage girls.

Resource Links

A breath of fresh air. The characters are strong, smart, and compassionate.

Monia Mazigh, author of Hope Has Two Daughters

A good story about the struggles of immigrants and refugees and their efforts to assimilate.

Color Coded Books

Colleen Nelson pens real characters whose decisions propel them into life-changing situations.

CanLit for LittleCanadians


The gentle way it deals with intense, emotional issues such as discrimination, the immigrant experience and refugee experience and empowerment gives this book quiet power, much like Sadia herself.

Quill & Quire

About the Author