Books & Short Works
Marina Budhos is the author of several novels and nonfiction books for adults and young adults. Please explore the other tabs to learn more!
Naeem is far from a ‘model teen.’ Moving fast in his immigrant neighborhood in Queens is the only way he can outrun the eyes of his hardworking Bangladeshi parents and their gossipy neighbors. Even worse, they’re not the only ones watching. Naeem thinks he can charm his way through anything, until mistakes catch up with him and the cops offer a dark deal. Naeem sees a way to be a hero—a protector–like the guys in his brother’s comic books. Yet what is a hero? What is a traitor? Where does Naeem belong?
“… a fast-moving, gripping tale that conveys Naeem’s restlessness and the sense of paranoia that comes from being watched constantly. Budhos perfectly captures the gritty details of daily life in a Queens neighborhood, as well as the nuances of different immigrant groups. This would be a great choice for a book club or classroom discussion.”—School Library Journal, starred review
Tell Us We’re Home
Jaya, Maria, and Lola are just like the other eighth-grade girls in the wealthy suburb of Meadowbrook, New Jersey. They want to go to the spring dance, they love spending time with their best friends after school, sharing frappés and complaining about the other kids. But there’s one big difference: all three are daughters of maids and nannies. And they go to school with the very same kids whose families their mothers work for.
“a fresh perspective on suburban American life … elevated by writing that is intelligent and earnestly passionate.” –The New York Times
That difference grows even bigger—and more painful—when Jaya’s mother is accused of theft and Jaya’s small, fragile world collapses. Marina Budhos gives us a heartbreaking and eye-opening story of friendship, belonging, and finding the way home.
Ask Me No Questions
Deportation. Green Card. Asylum.
Nadira and her family are illegal aliens, fleeing to the Canadian border – running from the country they thought would one day be their home. For years, they have lived on expired visas in New York City, hoping they can realize their dream of becoming legal citizens of the United States. But after 9/11, everything changes. Suddenly, being Muslim means being dangerous. A suspected terrorist. And when Nadira’s father is arrested and detained at the border, she and her sister, Aisha are sent back to Queens, and told to carry on, as if everything is the same.
But of course nothing is the same. Nadira and Aisha live in fear they’ll have to return to a Bangladesh they hardly know. Aisha, once the academic star, falls apart. Now it’s up to Nadira to find a way out.
“Moving, quietly powerful.”–Horn Book magazine (starred review)
Now in its 12th paperback printing, Ask Me No Questions is a searing portrait of modern America in the days of terrorism, orange alerts, and the Patriot Act. It is a story of two sisters, one of whom must find strength to save her family.
The Professor of Light
The reason we went to England the first summer, the summer I was ten, lay in a long-ago promise. And a long-ago philosopher named Heracleitus.
So begins the journey of Meggie Singh and her father, a charming, befuddled professor of philosophy from the Caribbean. Every summer Meggie and her parents pack up their luggage, leave New York City, and move to the home of Aunt Inez and Uncle Tom in England. There, Professor Singh struggles to write a book that takes on one of the greatest paradoxes to confound thinkers of the twentieth century: the dual nature of light as both particle and wave.
“Taut psychological drama … luminous.”–Publisher’s Weekly (starred review)
The Professor of Light is a gripping depiction of the intense bond between a father and a daughter — a father who is driven mad in his quest to understand light, and a devoted daughter who risks falling off the edge with him.
House of Waiting
House of Waiting tells of Sarah Weissberg, a sheltered Orthodox woman swept into a stormy romance with Roland Singh, a charismatic Indian man from the Caribbean. The two are are drawn together by their passion and shared sense of being outsiders in 1950s America. When Roland leaves Sarah in New York to seek his destiny in a bitter political struggle, Sarah creates her own home with his immigrant friends in upstate New York. There she learns the lessons of waiting and politics. And it is there, finally, that Sarah must decide whether to embark on a dangerous trip to save her marriage and learn the truth about her husband.
“This debut clearly marks Budhos as a writer to watch.”–Publisher’s Weekly
The Eyes of the World: Robert Capa & Gerda Taro & The Invention of Modern Photojournalism
Robert Capa and Gerda Taro were young Jewish refugees, idealistic and in love. As photographers, they set off to capture their generation’s most important struggle—the fight against fascism. Among the first to depict modern warfare, Capa and Taro took powerful photographs of the Spanish Civil War that went straight from the devastation to news magazines. In so doing, they helped birth to the idea of bearing witness with technology, bringing home tragedies from across the world. Forthcoming from Henry Holt and Company in February 2017.
★ Starred Review from Kirkus: “Going beyond details of the two lives, the complex account also explores issues surrounding refugees of war, the relationship between journalists and soldiers, the nature of artistic collaboration, and the overlap of photojournalism and propaganda.”
Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Slavery, Freedom & Science
Marc Aronson and Marina Budhos were inspired to write this book when they discovered that they each have sugar in their family backgrounds. Those intriguing tales inspired this husband and wife team to trace the globe-spanning history of the essence of sweetness, and to seek out the voices of those who led bitter sugar lives. As they discovered, the trail of sugar runs like a bright band through world events, making unexpected and fascinating connections.
“Meticulously researched, brutally honest, compelling … An indispensable part of any history collection.”–School Library Journal, starred
Sugar leads us from religious ceremonies in India to Europe’s Middle Ages, when Christians paid high prices to Muslims for what they thought of as an exotic spice, then on to Columbus, who brought the first cane cuttings to the Americas. Cane–not cotton or tobacco–drove the bloody Atlantic slave trade and took the lives of countless Africans, who toiled on vast sugar plantations under cruel overseers. And yet the very popularity of sugar gave abolitionists in England the one tool that could finally end the slave trade. Planters then brought in South Asians to work in the cane fields, just as science found new ways to feed the world’s craving for sweetness. Sugar moved, murdered, and freed millions.
Remix: Conversations with Immigrant Teenagers
For the last two and a half years, I have been talking to immigrant teenagers all over the country … Out of these conversations came a swirl of voices — voices that have so much to tell us.
Here, in fourteen intimate conversations, and many short interviews, teenagers from all over the world reveal their most personal struggles and triumphs.
“Groundbreaking.”–The Horn Book