Wow Good book to read about what life is like in Saudi Arabia for women and girls The oppression that they face every day is truly terrible Watch out this book will probably make you really angry in certain parts In The Vein Of Year Of The Dog And The Higher Power Of Lucky, This Middle Eastern Coming Of Age Story Is Told With Warmth, Spirit, And A Mischievous Sense Of HumorSpunky Eleven Year Old Wadjda Lives In Riyadh, Saudi Arabia With Her Parents She Desperately Wants A Bicycle So That She Can Race Her Friend Abdullah, Even Though It Is Considered Improper For Girls To Ride Bikes Wadjda Earns Money For Her Dream Bike By Selling Homemade Bracelets And Mixtapes Of Banned Music To Her Classmates But After She S Caught, She S Forced To Turn Over A New Leaf Sort Of , Or Risk Expulsion From School Still, Wadjda Keeps Scheming, And With The Bicycle So Closely In Her Sights, She Will Stop At Nothing To Get What She WantsSet Against The Shifting Social Attitudes Of The Middle East, The Green Bicycle Explores Gender Roles, Conformity, And The Importance Of Family, All With Wit And Irresistible Heart I loved this book This is what they re talking about when they say WeNeedDiverseBooks We NEED a book about a sassy pants eleven year old Saudi Arabian girl who sells forbidden contraband and uses her smarts to save up money to buy a forbidden bicycle.I must admit, I was nervous when I saw this book was written by a filmmaker and based on her film Wadjda Novelizations of movies typically aren t very good But this is NOT a novelization It s a beautifully written novel that stands on its own That being said, I did just order the DVD of Wadjda so I can enjoy that, too.The best thing I can say about this book is that it made me want to run right out and buy a pair of black Chucks with purple laces Wadjda style 3.75 stars This book is based on the author s award winning film, Wadjda It is not, however, the novelisation of a movie It s very much a novel in its own right, as evidenced by the fact that the movie came out in 2012 and the book came out in 2015 Anyway This is the story of an 11 year old girl living in Saudi Arabia She s a precocious and rebellious kid who wears jeans and ratty Converse under her school uniform, who sells mix tapes and snacks at massive mark ups to help her mother pay the bills, and who wants nothing than to ride a bike It s a book about how difficult life often is for women in Saudi society though obviously I can t speak to the authenticity of this with women made to cover themselves any time they leave the house, with women unable to drive, unable to travel without permission from a husband or male relative, unable to play sport or sing or do anything that might damage their reputation As much as it s about Wadjda s rebellion against the system, it s also about her mother s eventual rebellion Wadjda s mother is unable to have children, and so Wadjda s parents spend a lot of time arguing about whether or not her father will take a second wife to provide a son who can continue the family name And as heartwarming as Wadjda s story is, her mother s is equally heartbreaking It took me a little while to get into this one, but on the whole I thoroughly enjoyed it and I m glad I read it. The Green Bicycle was written by the director of Wadjda, the first feature film shot in Saudi Arabia by a female director In this case the film actually came out first The director and author Haifaa Al Mansour said in an interview that in the novel she wanted to go deeper into the minds of the characters, which definitely she does.The story is about Wadja, a spunky and sassy 11 year old who gets it in her head that she wants to buy the green bicycle that she sees in a store window She has a lot to contend with She s already a misfit in her religious public school As well, her mostly absent father does not contribute to their income and Wadjda and her mother have to live on her mother s income as a teacher, a job she has to commute over 2 hours each way to get to They have just barely enough for the bare essentials Nevertheless Wadjda is strong and feisty and determine to do things her way Although it s written for a younger audience, I recommend this book to everyone who wants to learn about life for women in Saudi Arabia. Wow The Green Bicycle was published in September 2015, after the very successful 2012 feature film Wadjda garnered world wide respect for Haifaa Al Mansour, the first female director to come from Saudi Arabia Sometimes I make the mistake of setting my expectations for a long awaited book too high, but this book did not disappoint me In fact, Al Mansour captures every facet of a middle class, working woman s world in Saudi reading this brought me right back to my eight years in Kuwait The tendency for Westerners to think of all Saudis as oil rich snobs or overflowing with new money has got to be stopped Increasing exposure to Western culture often sends middle class Muslim girls mixed messages that a coming of age story is perfectly suited to deal with Wadjda s struggles to remain independent are innocent, but also become weighty as they begin to affect those around her her family, her friends, her classmates, and mostly, her own sense of being The theme of Wadjda s struggle to find herself is very much echoed in the subplot of her mother s struggle to be a woman of independent means in a patriarchal society where both men and women suffer because of cultural and moral restrictions placed upon them For example, Wadjda s mother is forced to teach at a school two hours from home because teaching in an all girls school is one of the only acceptable professions for Saudi women and local positions are flooded So she and 8 other completely covered female teachers must endure a two hour drive to and fro on a crazy dangerous desert highway, in a van with no A C, driven by a surly Pakistani man who is her social inferior due to his illegal immigration status but who feels he can berate her because she is a woman There is also the tense relationship between Wadjda s mother and father What happens when a Saudi woman cannot bear a son What superstitions would keep a girl from riding a bicycle in the first place Everything about this book was so real the streets, the empty lots, the dust, the political elections The longing of Wadjda s mother to break social norms, but her reluctance to do so because of social tradition The principal of the school, Ms Hussa, with her designer clothes, high heels and sense of self importance, the attitudes of the girls in Wadjda s school Seriously, I felt like I was right back in the Gulf I don t think, as some critics have said, that Al Mansour seeks to cast Saudi in a bad light She is showing it with ethos and pathos She completely honors Koran The plots are beautifully woven, and shine brightest in the moment that Wadjda and her mother recite Koran which brings them together, And of His Signs is that He creates for you mates out of yourselves, so that you may find tranquility in them and He has put love and mercy between you This is beautiful, and Al Mansour turns a traditional male female dynamic on its head by reinterpreting it as an unbreakable and triumphant bond between a mother and a daughter. Set in modern day Saudi Arabia, this will give a lot of insight into life in a place many U.S children are unfamiliar withGrades 4 6 Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with her mother, who has a job as a teacher a grueling distance away from home Her father rarely comes home, and rumor has it that he is looking to take a second wife because Wadjda s mother can t provide him with a son Wadjda has quite a business at school, selling candy and trinkets to her school mates When she sees a shiny green GIRL S bicycle in a shop, she is bound and determined to save her money in order to get that bicycle, so she can win races against her friend, Abdullah Wadjda has all manner of trouble in school because she is always coming in disheveled, and she just can t seem to be proper like the other girls She wears Chuck Taylors with her uniform, can t keep her hair tidy, and envisions a life for herself that does not include the kind of miserable solitude that her mother s life does When Wadjda delivers a note for an older student that ends with much trouble, she runs the risk of being kicked out of school and endangering her family Strengths This was an interesting look at what daily like in Saudi Arabia is like The mother has to car pool with a group of teachers, and they have to hire a man to drive them, since women are not allowed Wadjda isn t really allowed to ride a bike, either the thought being that girls might damage their reproductive parts doing this The details about different types of clothing, and about how women dress when they are in the company only of other women was very interesting as well Weaknesses This was a really sad book, and the parts involving Wadjda s father looking to marry again might upset readers on the younger side, but I think this will be a good addition to a middle school library.What I really think I know that we are all supposed to be tolerant of other cultures, but the treatment of women in Saudi Arabia made me SO mad Religious laws should always be suggestions and not mandates Once you start telling women that they have to completely cover themselves because otherwise they will tempt men, you totally lose me Why not make all of the men go around blindfolded, if they are going to be the perpetrators of crime Seems fair to me So this was hard for me to read. Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where it seems like there are a million rules governing how girls and women are supposed to behave Wadjda s mother has to cover herself from head to toe, everything but her eyes, when they are out in public, and Wadjda, too, has to wear a long black abayah that covers her clothes and hair Wadjda hates being confined by rules she secretly loves Western music and wears Converse sneakers under her school uniform Her greatest wish, though, is to race her best friend Abdullah on a bicycle The problem is that only boys like Abdullah are supposed to ride bikes in Saudi Arabia it s considered unseemly for a girl to do so But that won t stop Wadjda, especially when she sees a beautiful green bicycle a girl s bicycle in a nearby toy shop The green bicycle cost 800 riyals, an impossible amount of money, but Wadjda is determined she ll buy it somehow Whether she has to sell mixtapes, bracelets, and snacks to her classmates or somehow win the prize money for the school wide Quran recitation competition, Wadjda is sure she will someday feel the wind in her hair as she and her bicycle leave Abdullah in the dust.This book could have stood to be a little shorter, and I can t say it was a page turner, but this is a story I d never heard before, and I love that The setting of Saudi Arabia is vividly described from an insider s perspective While I was so sad to see how oppressed women and girls in that country truly are, I could also see how resilient some of the female characters, especially Wadjda, can be She is such a great character By the end of the book, I had this kernel of hope that surely, even in such an oppressive environment, nothing could keep Wadjda down forever This may be weird to say, but I almost saw this as a type of dystopian story that focused on life in the dystopia instead of the overthrow of the dystopia Except it s or less real life Anyway, I loved this window into the life of a girl with, in some important ways, a very different childhood than mine.I would recommend this book to grades 5 8, especially those who want to know what it s like to live in a country like Saudi Arabia This might be a good readalike for The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney or The Princess and the Foal by Stacy Gregg. I was challenged to read a book by an author from Saudi Arabia And it really was a hard challenge Mostly because it was really hard to find a book by a Saudi Arabian author I would really prefer to read fiction, but 1 The Green Bicycle was the one and only Saudi Arabian book in my library 2 Even if I wanted to ask for a book from another library, there is nothing to ask for All I found were several stories about the fate of girls in that country written by female authors who happily escaped I guess the same zeal that was underlying the plot in this book is the reason for the poor literary heritage The story itself is written well enough and pleasant enough to read, even though it s not overly consistent in terms of tenses and points of view The plot, however, is not too exciting Besides, it doesn t seem finished After the heroine rides off into the sunset on her new bicycle, there should be religious police and repercussions There is just no other way it could go.