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In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen

Join us this week as we chat about In the Key of Nira Ghani, the story of a Guyanese-Canadian teen who longs to pursue her passion of playing jazz trumpet. (Transcript)
52 In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen

In today’s episode…

In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen

Nira Ghani feels like she doesn’t fit in in her mostly-white Canadian school. It’s not just that she’s Guyanese or so poor her clothes “apologize for their existence”, but also that she just can’t be herself. At home, she throws herself into playing trumpet, but she knows her parents would never let her join Jazz band. Kids at school pick on her, her father’s obnoxious brother and his family look down on her, and she doesn’t want the same dreams her mother wants for her. How can she be the perfect daughter they want her to be when they refuse to support her passion?


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Episode highlights…


*1:07 Danielle learned about pocket trumpets

*2:29 The dynamic between Nira’s family and her uncle’s family

*5:24 Nira’s highschool jazz band – Amanda has strong feelings

Things We Like A Latte

Danielle – Santa Clarita Diet on Netflix

Amanda – Tetris 99 for Nintendo Switch





*12:24 Nira is tenacious, we loved that

*17:52 Nira’s relationship with her best friend, Emily …

*20:11 … and her relationship with her parents


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More ideas and resources for teachers and librarians…

If you listened to the episode you’ll know that Danielle loved Natasha Deen’s use of objects in this novel (the small trumpet, the small barbecue, etc.), so this book would be a wonderful choice to illustrate symbolism. If you are looking for other ways to teach symbolism you can check out Danielle’s blog post on teaching symbolism with candy.

This book also really illustrates the sacrifices that Nira’s parents had to make when they immigrated from Guyana to Canada, and if you are looking for more books like this to include in your classroom library Danielle has a very informative blog post on sharing immigrant voices which includes book recommendations, videos, and interviews.

52 In the Key of Nira Ghani by Natasha Deen

Get in touch with us on Instagram and Twitter at @yacafepodcast or email us at We look forward to hearing from you!




Hosts: Danielle Hall (who blogs at

          & Amanda Thrasher (a booklover extraordinaire)

Producer: Leila Hobbs

Music: Matt McCammon


Thank you to Running Press Kids for sending us the ARC!


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