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.