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KY! by Clancy Tucker
Rida Khalid is a Muslim refugee from Iran. She is bullied by two girls at school for wearing a hijab (Muslim headscarf), reading books and wearing glasses, and seeks refuge in an old man’s garden after school. Rida meets an Asian girl at school, Ky, who also loves books, but Rida soon dumps her for a gawky girl, Carmen, who teaches her about fitting in. To be accepted, Rida removes her hijab at school, but she must wear her headscarf whilst competing in the inter-school sports. Her family will attend.
Rida deliberately loses the first race because Carmen says, “Only nerds do well in sports”. The sports master berates Rida for losing the race and points to Ky who’s made an extraordinary effort to get out of hospital to watch her run. Ky is battling leukaemia. Rida wins the next two races and gives her winning ribbons to Ky for good luck.
Rida enters the State Athletics Championships, but two athletics clubs lodge an objection to her hijab. Rida is shocked when a retired Queens Counsel (QC) represents her at the Equal Opportunity Commission. Who is he? Will Rida win the case? Will she run in the State Championships? Will Ky beat leukaemia, and who owns the garden that Rida has used as a sanctuary?