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Accidental Trouble Magnet: Book 1 (Planet Omar)

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There’s a school trip to the science museum, which Omar’s parents are thrilled about! Except, Omar ends up in a group with Daniel, not Charlie. Whilst on the London Underground the pair lose the rest of their class. Which unexpectedly leads to Daniel bursting into tears and wetting himself. Omar takes charge and gets the pair to Baker Street where he ends up praying to Allah for help. As it happens the pair end up at a Mosque where they manage to get help. Daniel is so grateful.

Omar and his family have had to move house due to Omar’s mother getting a new job. Omar’s family are of the Muslim faith and go to the Mosque. Omar starts his new school where he makes a new friend, Charlie. However, also in Omar’s class is Daniel who mean! During an art lesson, Daniel purposefully spills dirty paint water on Omar’s painting in an attempt to ruin it, but Omar manages to make it better and receives lots of praise from the teacher which infuriates Daniel. I like the themes in the book and I enjoyed exploring Omar’s positive thoughts to help him understand that he is different. I liked the different fonts and pictures in the book. This will encourage children to read the book and challenge themselves to identify what the images represent. Ik vond het alleen heel jammer dat wederom (het lijkt wel een trend want ik zie het in steeds meer boeken) dat pestkopjes maar vergeven en bevriend moeten worden want boehoehohoeeh ze hebben het zo moeilijk vanwege (vul hier iets in wat toepasselijk is) en dus kunnen ze er niks aan doen dat ze een stel etters zijn. Ik vind het gewoon echt niks. Ik ben zelf een flinke tijd in mijn leven gepest, en sorry ik zou echt geen tiet geven om een zielige sobstory van een pester. Je hebt mijn leven verpest, me helemaal gebroken, ga weg met je sobstory. Dat geeft je echt geen reden om iemands leven te verpesten. Plus, het voelt voor mij gewoon alsof het een slecht bericht geeft aan mensen die gepest zijn. Ja, maar die arme pester(s) kon/kunnen er toch niks aan doen. Ach en wee. :

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Mrs Rodgers has a fall and is taken away in an Ambulance, Omar’s mother does to see if her support is wanted and Mrs Rodgers accepts this. When the pair return from the hospital Mrs Rodgers’ attitude towards the family changes and is over heard on the phone to her son saying how lovely Omar’s family are. As the family begin Ramadan, Mrs Rodgers joins the family to gain an insight into the Muslim faith. The first and most obvious teaching point comes from the approach to different religions, in this case the characters were Muslim. Mian has included facts about this religion, such as the names for each prayer of the day, which will allow the children to learn about Muslims beliefs and traditions whilst reading. This would be a great teaching opportunity, to get the children to learn about different religions and appreciate the differences between people. This book could be used throughout the curriculum as a class text, most likely in key stage 2 due to the language used and being able to relate to the character due to age. For instance, due to the science mentioned in the book, this can be linked to science lessons, especially about experiments or genes and DNA. This could also be used in art lessons to focus on the illustrator and her style of drawing. Literacy and Art could be linked if children were to write their own stories in the style of this book using the different fonts for instance. These are just some ideas of how the book can be used in school however there are many other lessons and areas of the curriculum that it could be used in. The book provides a good base to continue to explore religious festivals in Islam, for example Eid, during religious education lessons. It is one of the few books I have read which explored religion in this way, but I really enjoyed how the author used it throughout the story, to make connections. Welcome to the imaginative brain of Omar! You might not know me yet,but once you open this book you’ll laugh so hard that snot will come out of your nose.*

Using a text in this way adds value and purpose by giving children the opportunity to express their possible experiences and feelings on these topics. It may also give children something to relate to and aspire from. Furthermore, this text would lend itself well to many of the topics within the PSHE curriculum. Yet when mean Mrs Rogers has an accident, Omar's family is there to help. And when Omar and bully Daniel get stranded on a school trip in London, Omar realises that Danny isn't so tough after all... Use the example of Omar getting lost and encourage the children to write a first-person narrative to describe the emotions and feelings that Daniel and Omar may be experiencing. Omar and his friends are distinct individuals with their own opinions and cultural influences but, rather than being a problem, their differences give the friendship real depth and make them a great team.Omar is hands down one of the best characters I've ever read and I love that I get to share his stories with my class. We laugh together at the funny bits, my Muslim children relate to things Omar shares about his religion and share their own stories, my non-Muslim children learn new information and respectfully ask questions, we all admire Omar's courage and kindness. He is such a positive and relatable role model for my students. I really liked this book as it felt unique compared to other children's books I have read. This was in terms of it being informally written, being in 1st person and the use of different texts and fonts to reflect the characters feelings. The text and font also highlighted words that needed more emphasis and exaggeration. I also liked the fact that this book promotes diversity about a Muslim boy and is family but is also very informative about their religion and traditions. Therefore, I think this would be a great book to teach children about this religion in the classroom as it is a fun read and there are parts in the story that explain the relgion in very simplistic ways in an informal manner for children to understand.

This book was an enjoyable read overall. When I began reading, the first thing I compared this book too was those of David Walliams' due to the use of different fonts on certain words to make them stand out - like Walliams, the chosen fonts tend to be somewhat related to what the word is saying, e.g 'a big cheeky grin' is written on a face in the shape of a smile. Planet Omar can link to stories about friendship and overcoming bullies, such as Cloud Busting. There is also links to books about acceptance of others such as Skellig by David Almond, Beegu by Alexis Deacon and Welcome to Our World by Moira Butterfield. There is also a link to The Twits by Ronald Dahl as Omar believes that people with ugly thoughts are ugly people and that appearance isn’t the key to being a good person. Ronald Dahl writes “If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely”. Ondertussen zien we ook dat Omars zus in de puberteit belandt is en dat ze daardoor soms, voor Omar, vreemd reageert. Opeens boos worden, weglopen, maar dan ook weer heel vrolijk en blij zijn. Want met een nieuwe school komen nieuwe kinderen, en kinderen kunnen zo gemeen zijn tegen elkaar. “Jij bent moslim… Jullie kunnen maar beter teruggaan naar je eigen land voordat we jullie er allemaal uitschoppen.” En hoewel dit boek zich in Engeland afspeelt, is dit ook al maar al te herkenbaar in een Nederlandse context. Deze agressie komt voort uit onbegrip, uit een buurvrouw die niets te maken wil hebben met haar nieuwe buren - ze maken herrie, ze gebruiken te veel kruiden en dat stinkt - totdat ze een keer oog in oog met elkaar komen te staan. Allebei mensen. A very kid-friendly and appealinglyhonest story about being different, being labeled ‘other.'”— The New York Times Book ReviewI love, love, love this book! I will have a copy of this text in all my future classes and would recommend it to all. Use the style of the pictures and bold and different sized writing in the book to encourage children to create a book of their own lifestyles or challenging situations they have experienced. As a reader I like how the author chose to present some of the words as illustrations as this made it easier to follow and was also engaging. Also I like how the author has explained many of the key words in a child friendly manned which would help both children and teachers to understand their meanings and read them within context.

In their debut, Mian and Mafaridik create a relatable and hilarious story . . . Exploding with personality and imagination, Omar is an easy character to love.”— Booklist, starred review Omar and his family have just moved, and he is NOT excited about starting at a new school. What if the work is too hard or the kids are mean or the teacher is a zombie alien?! Planet Omar is a fiction text about an imaginary character and imaginary events. However, events such as Ramadan and Eid are real life Muslim festivals. Use the example where Omar’s feeling frightened, nervous, or worried. The class teacher will encourage the children to write a diary entry to express the feelings of Omar’s imaginative world with the dragon (H20) helping him to overcome these feelings. The children could think about why the dragon is important to Omar and how it supports his thoughts and feelings It would be good for the reader to have some knowledge of the Muslim faith, including holidays such as Ramadan and Eid. However, the book is very informative about some of these areas and is explained in a child friendly way. It would be a good text to read alongside learning about Muslim festivals.

I think most children would be able to make some connection with this book from their home life, as it talks about the use of modern technology, Xbox and iPhones, which most children have heard about. I think this book would be good for children in upper KS2 and could help them and understand the transition between schools and it may help them feel less nervous about their transition to secondary school. Wat ik ook leuk vond aan het boek is dat Omar en zijn familie moslims zijn en we van alles leren over verschillende dingen in hun leven. Ik wist al een flink aantal dingen, maar ik heb ook wat nieuwe dingen geleerd. Ik moest wel lachen (net als Omar en zijn zus) hoe zijn moeder soms door het huis vloog omdat ze haar hoofddoek weer eens kwijt was en ze de deur open moest doen. We lezen ook over verschillende feesten, zoals het suikerfeest die ik wel eens heb gevierd met mijn basisschoolklas en ook met een vriendinnetje dat moslim(a) was.

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