Frequently taunted and called "Donkeyface," Zulaikha is a young Afghan girl with a cleft palate The Taliban has forbidden girls to attend school, so Zulaikha secretly meets with Meena to learn to read. Hope is born, when American forces come to Zulaikha's village. Construction sites for new schools and public buildings pop up, and army doctors offer surgery to fix Zulaikha's face. Author Trent Reedy, inspired to write this story based on real experiences, served in Afghanistan from 2004-2005!
Winner of the Christopher Medal and a "heart-wrenching" Al Roker's Book Club selection on the Today Show.
Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her--"Inshallah," God willing.
Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to her village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha--but can she dare to hope they'll come true?
About the Author
Trent Reedy is the author of WORDS IN THE DUST, winner of the Christopher Medal and an Al Roker's Book Club pick on the Today Show, and STEALING AIR. Trent and his wife live in Spokane, Washington. Please visit his website at www.trentreedy.com.
"I love this story -- it leaves no doubt that hope and love speak the same language everywhere." -- Suzanne Fisher Staples, author of SHABANU: DAUGHTER OF HTE WIND
"Both heart-wrenching and timely." -- KIRKUS REVIEWS
"A beautifully written novel that introduces young readers to a fascinating culture." -- PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
"Readers will readily find themselves rooting for Zulaikha in this simply told yet thoughtful story." -- THE BULLETIN OF THE CENTER FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS