Words in the Dust by by Trent Reedy

Mixed Media

“Trent Reedy has given me an Afghan friend,” writes children’s author Katherine Paterson in the foreword of this book. Every reader will find a new friend in Zulaikha. Her name means brilliant beauty, but she finds no beauty in herself. As Zulaikha helps her older sister prepare for her wedding, she wonders if she will ever marry, if she will ever lift her head high. “Donkey-face,” they taunt. It is only when lost in an ancient world of poetry that Zulaikha is able to imagine that she does not have a cleft palate hidden beneath her chador. The arrival of the American military in the village brings heightened fear but also hope. When a medical team offers a promise of surgery for Zulaikha, her spirits soar. Reedy draws from personal experience, as he was stationed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army from 2004 to 2010. The raw and painful subject matter make this book suited for a mature adolescent reader. Ages 10 and up. (Arthur A. Levine)

About the Author

Jenny deGroot is a freelance media review and news writer for The Banner. She lives on Swallowfield Farm near Fort Langley B.C. with her husband, Dennis. Before retirement she worked as a teacher librarian and assistant principal.