Book Review: Humza Arshad’s ‘Little Badman & the Invasion of the Killer Aunties’

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‘Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties’ is a thrilling adventure of happiness, laughter, and delicious treats. Writers Humza Arshad and Henry White, along with illustrator Aleksei Bitskoff take you through the eccentric world of twelve year old Humza Khan a.k.a Little Badman, who aims to be a ‘ninja-rapper-gangster’ and make “the greatest rap music video ever produced.” Although, his final year of primary school turns him into something even better, a hero.

Humza’s life is surrounded by many colorful characters, like his best friend Umer, who starts out our journey with a bee in his pencil case. There’s principal Offalbox who is determined to give Humza a permanent seat in detention, and Offalbox’s favorite Wendy Wang, the straight A perfect student, who seems to be out to always catch Humza being a miscreant. There’s also Humza’s mom Nausheen who would like her son to earn for his dreams and not cruise through life, and Humza also has his own personal principal at home, his father Mohammed, who says Humza needs discipline and will only learn if he is sent to Pakistan. Perhaps, the two most important characters in Humza’s tale are Auntie Uzma and Uncle-Grandpa Tariq, who is only called grandpa because in Humza’s words, he is “so old and tired-looking.”

Now, aunties are pretty common in the South Asian community. They gossip, tell imaginative tales, (what both Humza and his dad are also known for,) and tend to eat and feed everyone around them. Auntie Uzma gives Umer a bee to keep as a pet and that bee unexpectedly bites their teacher Miss Crumble who is severely allergic to bee-stings. Miss Crumble leads the long line of teachers who suddenly fall sick and are replaced with community aunties. These aunties are replacing the teachers to not only teach, but constantly feed the students sugary treats in the name of lessons, prizes, and even artwork. Humza and Umer fail to recognize the pattern of teacher disappearances until their beloved music teacher Mr.Turnbull also becomes “loopy-loopy-mad.” What follows is Humza, Umer, Uncle-Grandpa, and Wendy Wang’s journey to uncover the truth behind the auntie invasion, and where all the staff at the Little Meadows Primary School have disappeared to.

‘Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties’ is the perfect start for first time author Humza Arshad. He, Henry White, and illustrator Aleksei Bitskoff have created these extremely endearing characters that will be every primary school child’s delight, but shouldn’t be limited to just them. Humza’s ‘killer auntie invasion’ has been the highlight of my week and I am twenty-seven years young. I caught myself smiling more than a few times as I read about Humza’s exciting adventure on my ride in and out of work….and that’s not ideal on a NYC subway. ‘Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties’ deserves to be read, re-read, made into a book series, cartoon series, comic strip, and hopefully much more.

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