Just a Hat

  • From the Publisher
December 31, 2022

Action-packed, humor­ous, and bit­ter­sweet, this 1970s-era com­ing-of-age nov­el is more rel­e­vant than ever — explor­ing how a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion immi­grant kid in a new home­town must nav­i­gate bul­ly­ing, unex­pect­ed friend­ships, and the strug­gle of keep­ing both feet firm­ly plant­ed in two very dif­fer­ent cultures.

It’s 1979, and thir­teen-year-old Joseph Nis­san can’t help but notice that small-town Texas has some­thing in com­mon with Rev­o­lu­tion-era Iran: an absence of fel­low Jews. And in such a small town it seems obvi­ous that a brown kid like him was bound to make friends with Lati­nos — which is a plus, since his new buds, the Ybar­ra twins, have his back. But when the Iran hostage cri­sis, two neigh­bor­hood bul­lies, and the local rev­erend’s beau­ti­ful daugh­ter put him in all sorts of dan­ger, Joseph must find new ways to cope at home and at school.

As he strug­gles to trust oth­ers and stay true to him­self, a fierce­ly guard­ed fam­i­ly secret keeps his father at a dis­tance, and even his piano teacher, Miss Eleanor — who is like a grand­moth­er to him — can’t always pro­tect him. But Joseph is not alone, and with a lit­tle help from his friends, he finds the courage to con­front his fears and dis­cov­ers he can inspire oth­ers to find their courage, too.

Just a Hat is an authen­ti­cal­ly one-of-a-kind YA debut that fus­es the humor of Firoozeh Dumas’s Fun­ny in Far­si with the poignan­cy of Daniel Nay­er­i’s Every­thing Sad Is Untrue.

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