My Friends are Characters, a guest post by Hena Khan

The first time I spotted the little girl who had just moved in across the street from my house, I stared at her from my driveway, and she stared back. I waved shyly and said hi, and she responded with an accented hello. And then, somehow, after that awkward first encounter at the age of seven, we quickly became best friends who spent our free time riding bikes, painting rocks, making lemonade, and pretending we were Wonder Woman together.

It didn’t matter that Naomi had just moved to Maryland from Israel, spoke more Hebrew than English, and went to a Jewish school, or that I was a bookish Pakistani American Muslim child of immigrants who walked to the local elementary school. We moved freely between each other’s homes, and accepted each other’s languages, faiths, cultures without thinking twice about them.