Zara's Rules for Finding Hidden Treasure (2)

Zara's Rules for Finding Hidden Treasure (2)
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Release Date
October 18, 2022
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From the beloved author of Amina’s Voice comes the second book in the delightful Zara’s Rules middle grade series following Zara as she starts her own business!

Zara lives for bike rides with her friends—so when her shiny, brand-new bike goes missing from the park one day, she’s crushed. After her parents insist she earn the money for another one herself, Zara’s determined to start a business. But what kind? A lemonade stand? Not profitable enough. Selling painted rocks? Not enough customers.

Zara’s starting to get discouraged when she and her friend Naomi finally come up with the perfect idea: The Treasure Wagon, a roving garage sale that unloads knickknacks from the Saleem family basement and makes money all at once! But when a mix-up gets Zara in hot water again, will she have to give up everything she’s earned toward her new bike?

Editor review

1 review
Updated twist on B is For Betsy type books
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Zara and her new friend Naomi, who moved into the neighborhood in Zara's Rules for Record Breaking Fun have ridden their bikes to the park, and while they are playing, someone steals Zara's brand new bike. Because she forgot to lock it up (she never locked up her old bike, but then no one wanted to steal it), her parents decide that she's going to have to earn the money to buy the replacement. She and Naomi rule out a lemonade stand, but when Zara's mother discovers that Zara's grandmother and grandfather have let their basement fill up with lots of junk, Zara has the idea to do a rolling garage sale in her neighborhood. Unfortunately, she mixes up the boxes her mother says she can sell, and dips into "keepsakes" along with "knick knacks". Naomi tries to get Zara to clean out her room as well, but as Zara reflects on why she is keeping things she no longer uses, she understands why her grandmother doesn't want to get rid of things. This becomes clear to Zara's mother as well when she realizes that Zara has sold some of her treasured possessions. The grandparents are celebrating their 40th anniversary, and after attending Naomi's brother Michael's bar mitzvah, Zara gets some good ideas for the party and works with her friends to use some of the pictures she finds in the basement to put together some keepsakes. Her grandmother does clean out her basement and has a garage sale, which gives Zara just enough money to get a gently used bike as a charity shop run by her mosque.
Good Points
Zara's neighborhood is a great one, and I love that Zara and Naomi are still allowed to ride their bikes around and go to the park alone. The lesson about letting other people find value in their "junk" is an important one, but I appreciated that the grandmother still cleaned out things like an old toaster oven. There are fun illustrations accompanying this, and it's a perfect purchase for elementary schools where books like Nina Soni and Cleo Edison Oliver are popular. As adults, it's hard to remember how impossible it seems to make money of one's own as a child. I remember searching couch cushions for coins with my cousin; now, no one has coins in their pockets, cutting off an important source of childhood income!

This series (the first is Zara's Rules for Record-Breaking Fun) reminds me of Haywood's B is for Betsy (1939) series in the best possible way! Instead of being the primarily white cast (Betsy did play with a Black girl, but it was the maid's daughter, which just doesn't translate well to 2022), Zara's world is much more representative of the diverse neighborhoods today's children see. Hand this to fans of Brown's Lola Levine or Sheth's Nina Soni. Be prepared to keep hunting down the books in these series, because they are all highly addictive!

For purely selfish reasons, I really wish that Khan hadn't gone back in time to when Zayd was younger; I wish she had written stories about an older Zara, because those would be great for my library. Maybe next time!
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