BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter

Nasreen's Secret SchoolNasreen watches her father being taken away by the Taliban, then loses her mother when she goes out in search of her disappeared husband. Left alone with her grandmother, Nasreen retreats into silence. Her desperate grandmother enrolls Nasreen in a secret school for girls, risking all to open her lonely granddaughter’s closed existence to the world outside: “The knowledge she holds inside will always be with her, like a good friend.”

The miracle of this book – a co-production with the Global Fund for Children – is that it bears witness to the true experiences of real people in Afghanistan, bravely surviving in spite of the devastating and dangerous restrictions of the Taliban. “The founder of these [secret girls’] schools, who requested anonymity, shared the story of Nasreen and her grandmother with me,” writes Winter in her “Author’s note.” “Even now, after the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, danger remains. Still, schools are bombed, set on fire, and closed down. Still, there are death threats to teachers. Still, girls are attacked or threatened if they go to school. And STILL, the girls, their families, and their teachers defy the tyranny by keeping the schools open. Their courage has never wavered.”

Winter’s last title, The Librarian of Basra, also bore witness to everyday people being unexpected heroes.  She’s built an award-winning career capturing true stories on inviting, colorful, hopeful pages for the youngest readers. Here’s to many more such books to come …

Readers: Children

Published: 2009



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