Sunday, December 26, 2010


WORDS IN THE DUST, by Trent Reedy (Scholastic 2011)(ages 10+). Thirteen year-old Zulaikha lives in an Afghanistan recently liberated from the Taliban. But her concerns are more immediate than the politics of Kabul: getting along with her stepmother; dealing with her siblings; preparing for her sister's upcoming wedding; ignoring the taunts and almost always-horrified reactions to her appearance; and surreptitiously learning to read and write the poetry that so inspired her mother.

Then the Americans come to town, offering protection, opportunities, and a new life. And surgery to fix Zulaikha's cleft palate...

In WORDS IN THE DUST, Trent Reedy offers a human face to what is, for many, a far-off war. Reedy compellingly captures the rhythms of a small Afghan town and the dreams and personalities of its residents. Zulaikha is utterly believable as she reaches toward the future that is now available to her. Ultimately, WORDS IN THE DUST delivers as a finely-wrought novel of love, hope, and decency.

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