Did you know that only 22% of visitors to U.S. National Parks are people of color? Author, activist, and founder of Brown People Camping Ambreen Tariq hopes to change that with her new picture book Fatima’s Great Outdoors. Inspired by her own childhood experience, this wonderful picture book is all about an immigrant family’s first time camping in their local state park.
We are first introduced to Fatima, the youngest daughter of the Khazi family, as she looks forward to setting off on the family camping trip after a tough week at school. Before she knows it, she is packed into her family’s car with their camping gear, listening to Bollywood songs and eating samosas with her sister, mother, and father. They travel to Emerald State Park, where Fatima’s confidence is bolstered by properly assembling their tent with her Papa.
The camping trip reminds Fatima of treasured memories from her time in India, like when her mother caught lizards in their home and built a fire in a wood-burning stove. Like all good things, the family’s camping trip must end, and Fatima realizes she isn’t ready to go home. But luckily this is just the first of many adventures to come for Fatima.
I absolutely love the illustrations by Stevie Lewis in Fatima’s Great Outdoors. Her own love of nature really comes through in the way she illustrates the landscapes around the Khazi family.
I also really appreciate the way Fatima’s Great Outdoors simultaneously introduces young readers to both camping and Indian culture. Outdoors spaces are often very white and male dominated, as they are often specifically marketed to white men. This sends the message to people of color that they don’t belong in these spaces. The idea of introducing young children to camping through the eyes of an immigrant family shatters that negative stereotype, and it feels so refreshing.
Fatima’s Great Outdoors is available next week (March 30, 2021), but you can preorder it today wherever books are sold, including Bookshop and Amazon. (Please note: Some links provided are affiliate links. Affiliate links allow me to receive a small commission for recommendations at no cost to you. This commission is used to maintain this site and to continue bringing content to you. I always appreciate your support!)
To learn more about Ambreen Tariq and her work promoting greater diversity in our public lands, please visit her website at brownpeoplecamping.com.
To learn more about Stevie Lewis and her other work (including one of my personal favorites, Prince and Knight), please visit her website at chocosweete.com.
Thank you so much to Kokila and Penguin Random House for providing me with a review copy of Fatima’s Great Outdoors. This was another one of my most anticipated titles of 2021, and I am so happy to say it did not disappoint.
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