Moving from Bangladesh to London brings monumental changes for eleven-year-old Shanti. He’s not at all eager to attend his new secondary school, especially because his oversized black-and-white uniform makes him look like a penguin. He despairs of fitting in, but his parents are thrilled that he’s attending a historic school where he’ll get the best education.
On his first day, Shanti unexpectedly meets four boys who are also having trouble adapting. Charlie, David, Nathaniel, and Baldev all come from different ethnic backgrounds but share his dislike of the school. The teachers are strict, and there are far too many rules to remember.
Shanti’s parents expect him to study hard, but he often gets into mischief and cuts classes with his new friends. His father is furious, and his brutal punishments strain their relationship. Meanwhile, Shanti must also contend with the rising racism in 1970s London.
Fortunately, when Shanti starts working for Beppe, a Maltese café owner, he rediscovers hope—and gains a confidant who understands his struggle to assimilate to British culture without abandoning his Bangladeshi roots. A Muslim Boy movingly shares Shanti’s efforts to make his family proud while discovering the courage to be true to himself.