Friday, April 13, 2012

Perfect Picture Books: Nasreen's Secret School

We're at the halfway point for the A to Z Challenge. It's been interesting. My mini-memoirs continue to show up daily (except for Sundays). You'll know too much about me by the end of the month. Thanks for reading, blogging and visiting. Have a great weekend — Stacy

For Perfect Picture Book Fridays, I've chosen Nasreen's Secret School A True Story from Afghanistan.

Nasreen's Secret School A True Story from Afghanistan
Written and Illustrated By Jeanette Winter
Beach Lane Books, 2009

Suitable for: Ages 6-9

Theme/Topic: Girls, Education, Loss

Opening: My granddaughter, Nasreen, lives with me in Herat, an ancient city in Afghanistan.
Art and music and learning once flourished here.

Brief Synopsis:
Young Nasreen has not spoken a word to anyone since her parents disappeared.
In despair, her grandmother risks everything to enroll Nasreen in a secret school for girls. Will a devoted teacher, a new friend, and the worlds she discovers in books be enough to draw Nasreen out of her shell of sadness?
Based on a true story from Afghanistan, this inspiring book will touch readers deeply as it affirms both the life-changing power of education and the healing power of love. — book description.

Link to resources: Nasreen's Secret School Reinforcing Activity and Schools for Girls. Author and Illustrator Jeanette Winter shares statistics in her author's note about how women and girls lived before and after Taliban rule in Afghanistan. Her note along with the story offern many discussion points about how women and girls are treated in different cultures as well as the availability of education in different nations.

Why I chose this book: I wanted to read The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq after reading Patricia's review on Children's Books Heal. My library didn't have The Librarian of Basra, but had Nasreen's Secret School and a few others by Jeanette Winter. So, I loaded up my digital hold list and waited. I wasn't disappointed with the story. Stories like this make me ask myself: Would I have the courage to do this? I hope the answer would be yes, but I also hope I never have to find out.

To find more picture books and resources, please visit Susanna Leonard Hill's blog and look for the Perfect Picture Books page.


  1. I read an article about a school teacher in Afghanistan that was killed because he allowed girls in the school. It is hard for me to think that this happens. It is good people know about it.

  2. It's great that these stories do get out now, thanks for sharing Stacy!

  3. What an opening! All kids need to read this book, Stac. Great addition woman! (((hugs)))

  4. Oh, Stacy, I have put this high up the top on my TBR list. What a fabulous recommendation for us.

  5. What a moving and powerful story this sounds to be. Thank you for sharing it with us! (And thank you for sharing your powerfully moving memoir excerpts with us as well.)

  6. Stacy, you don't know how close I came to reviewing this one. But, I'm glad that you did. I love Jeanette Winter has become a favorites. This is a wonderful story! Thanks for the mention.

  7. Great recommendation. I always loved reading about brave people in far away places when I was a kid. Makes the world feel a little smaller.

  8. This book sounds great. We did check out The Librarian of Basra last week after Pat's post and my kids were fascinated. I know they would love this one, too. Thanks, Stacy!

  9. Excellent recommendation, Stacy! I'll be getting hold of a copy to read to my boys.

  10. Hi there Stacy, I love it when our book searches lead us to even more books and great discoveries such as this one. I have always been fascinated by picture books that depict different cultures and different realities. Will definitely pin this one. :)

  11. Stacy, this looks like a great story. Growing up, my mother used to remind me and my sister that people died so we could be free. I'd love to read this to my daughter (who's 10) so she can begin to understand how fortunate we are to live here where girls receive the same education as boys. Especially when she's complaining about math. :)
    A2ZMommy and What’s In Between

  12. Wow, I didn't realize Jeannette Winter had written another book about Afghanistan. Thanks for finding this one Stacy.

  13. This sounds like a wonderful, touching story. Thanks for adding it.


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