Dahling, If You Luv Me, Would You Please, Please Smile

Dahling, If You Luv Me
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A Young Adult Novel by Rukhsana Khan
Published by Stoddart Kids
206 pg, Paperback
$8.95 USD / $9.95 CDN
ISBN 0-7737-6016-4

Buy Dahling If You Luv Me at
AR Quiz No. 41552 EN Fiction
IL: MG - BL: 4.0 - AR Pts: 7.0
AR Quiz Types: RP

View Teacher's Guide

Watch Rukhsana's Book Talk/Tutorial for tips on using this book in the classroom.


A young Pakistani-Canadian girl finds that trying to please her peers isn't worth the effort.

Awards & Recognition

  • WINNER of the Manitoba Young Reader's Choice Honour Award

  • Shortlisted for the 2000 Red Maple Award (O.L.A)

  • Shortlisted for the 2000 Ruth Schwartz Award (O.A.C/C.B.A)


"Zainab feels like the perennial outsider at her Canadian school: she doesn't have the requisite expensive brand-name clothes, she's one of only two students of Indian ancestry there (and the other, also in grade eight, is a Hindu who funds Muslim Zainab's acceptance of meat-eating disgusting), and she's without friends . . . What is compelling and original here is the treatment of Zainab's faith and its relevance to her daily life: without being preachy or ham-handedly informational, Khan depicts Zainab as a devout girl in a devout family who both embraced and questions the tenets of her faith. There's a well-handled complexity in the scenes where Zainab submits to the will of her bossy older sister and uncomfortably listens to catalogues of fault; the book makes it clear that older sister Layla takes a most irreligious pleasure in bossing her younger sister but also gives credence to Zainab's contemplation of her character . . . the family intensity will engage readers, and proud and stubborn Zainab is worth knowing."

-Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books-


". . . Zainab's sister goes even further, keeping an alphabetized list of Zainab's faults in Dahling, if You Luv Me, Would You Please, Please Smile, a debut novel by the author of two previous picture books, Rukhsana Khan . . . But Zainab's grueling 'self-improvement' sessions with her pious, domineering sister are nothing compared to her problems at school. The only Muslim and one of two 'Indians' in her class, Zainab is dying to fit in. But she doesn't wear the right clothes; she can't look right; and when she's asked to direct the class play, the in crowd won't take her seriously. Not until disaster strikes does Zainab find the wisdom and courage to stand up for her friend, herself, and her own cultural tradition . . . elements in this novel show wonderful warmth, humour and complexity. Layla's self-righteous criticisms of Zainab are so extravagant they're funny, and Zainab's growing capacity to argue back, text for religious text, is comic and invigorating. Zainab's feeling of marginalization and the difficulties of her friendship with a Hindu girl are believable and enlightening -- particularly so, perhaps, for readers who don't know what it's like to be a visible outsider."

-The Toronto Star-


"Dahling, if You Luv Me, Would You Please, Please Smile is award-winning author Rukhsana Khan's first novel for young adults. The story of Zainab, a young Muslim Canadian works at more levels than one . . . In the end, it is about Zainab finding her place in the sun."

-Desi News-