Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall Reading 2013 Razia's Ray of Hope

Elizabeth Suneby's story of the Zabuli Education Center for Girls is a great example of children's literature sharing cultural diversity. Razia's dream to attend school and the various obstacles she must overcome are very realistic for girls living in Afghanistan. There are customs and traditions, pressure by groups like the Taliban, financial issues, and other problems that girls in the U.S. don't have to face. The reactions of Razia's family to her request to attend school are very normal for families living in her village - they are not extreme or fanatical. The school's founder understands the objections and answers them truthfully and respectfully in a way that the family can accept.

I especially like the activities at the end of the story that can help a class of American students see what the odds are for a girl like Razia to receive an education. The "Typical School Day" sheets that will be provided* at help students compare their school day here in the U.S. to a day for students in Razia's school. These comparisons make it much easier to grasp what a different lifestyle children in Afghanistan have from American children. This would be a good book to combine with research projects on education activists like Mulala Yousafzai and Razia Jan. (*Other activities are already available on the website.) I found a 10-minute-long video about Razia Jan.

I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley. The book was published on September 1, 2013.

Update: I picked up a copy at the bookstore today! (12/19/13)

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