Power Forward

Power Forward

Illustrated by: Sally Wern Comport
For Ages: 7 - 10
From the critically acclaimed author of Amina’s Voice comes the first book in an exciting new middle grade series about a fourth-grader with big dreams of basketball stardom.

Fourth grader Zayd Saleem has some serious hoop dreams. He’s not just going to be a professional basketball player. He’s going to be a star. A legend. The first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. He knows this deep in his soul. It’s his destiny. There are only a few small things in his way.

For starters, Zayd’s only on the D-team. (D stands for developmental, but to Zayd it’s always felt like a bad grade or something.) Not to mention, he’s a bit on the scrawny side, even for the fourth grade team. But his best friend Adam is on the Gold Team, and it’s Zayd’s dream for the two of them to play together.

His mom and dad don’t get it. They want him to practice his violin way more than his jump shot. When he gets caught blowing off his violin lessons to practice, Zayd’s parents lay down the ultimate punishment: he has to hang up his high tops and isn’t allowed to play basketball anymore.

As tryouts for the Gold Team approach, Zayd has to find the courage to stand up for himself and chase his dream.
  • Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers | 
  • 144 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781534411999 | 
  • May 2018 | 
  • Grades 2 - 5 | 
  • Lexile ® 600L
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Read an Excerpt

Reading Group Guide

A Reading Group Guide to

Zayd Saleem, Chasing the Dream

#1: Power Forward

#2: On Point

By Hena Khan

About the Books

Fourth grader Zayd Saleem is not just going to be a professional basketball player. He’s going to be a star—the first Pakistani-American kid to make it to the NBA. However, life can get complicated, especially when your dreams are different from the plans your family has for you. Zayd has a loving and close-knit family, but what his parents want him to do (and eat) is not always the same as what he wants for himself. After his favorite uncle, Jamal Mamoo, helps him learn to stand up for himself, it’s his turn to be a leader and help his best friend Adam and Uncle Jamal to follow their dreams as well.

Discussion Questions

1. Make a family tree for Zayd, including a description of each member of his family. Can you relate to his relationships with his mom, dad, sister, uncle, or grandparents? How is his family similar to yours? How is it different?

2. How does Zayd respond to stress and anxiety? Do you think there is anything that seems to help him when he is feeling anxious? What do you do when you are anxious or worried about something?

3. Why do you think Zayd’s parents want him to continue to play the violin? Have your parents ever wanted you to do something that you didn’t want to do? How did see more

More Books from this Author

Bounce Back
On Point
Amina's Voice

About the Author

Hena Khan
Photo (c) Havar Espedal

Hena Khan

Hena Khan is the author of several books including Amina’s Voice; Power Forward; On Point; Bounce BackIt’s Ramadan, Curious George; Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns; and The Night of the Moon. Hena lives in her hometown of Rockville, Maryland, with her husband and two sons. You can learn more about Hena by visiting her website at HenaKhan.com.