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Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan Hardcover – October 6, 2009
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From School Library Journal
Grade 2–4—This story begins with an author's note that succinctly explains the drastic changes that occurred when the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan in 1996. The focus is primarily on the regime's impact on women, who were no longer allowed to attend school or leave home without a male chaperone, and had to cover their heads and bodies with a burqa. After Nasreen's parents disappeared, the child neither spoke nor smiled. Her grandmother, the story's narrator, took her to a secret school, where she slowly discovered a world of art, literature, and history obscured by the harsh prohibitions of the Taliban. As she did in The Librarian of Basra (Harcourt, 2005), Winter manages to achieve that delicate balance that is respectful of the seriousness of the experience, yet presents it in a way that is appropriate for young children. Winter's acrylic paintings make effective use of color, with dramatic purples and grays, with clouds and shadows dominating the scenes in which the Taliban are featured, and light, hopeful pinks both framing and featured in the scenes at school. This is an important book that makes events in a faraway place immediate and real. It is a true testament to the remarkable, inspiring courage of individuals when placed in such dire circumstances.—Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ END
"Winter celebrates the importance of education, and the reminder to Western children that it is a privilege worth fighting for is a powerful one."--The Horn Book Magazine
"The personal nature of the story individualizes the conflict in Afghanistan...and the quiet, tightly focused approach helps make the situation accessible. The notion of school as a privilege revoked rather than a mandatory setnece may also elicit some thoughtful kid consideration."--The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
“Winter’s precise acrylics tell this story in matter-of-fact images: Taliban soldiers coming down the mountain to the city of Herat, “where art and music and learning once flourished”; a girl called Nasreen sitting at home, silent since her parents disappeared, forbidden to attend school; the grandmother, who tells the story, taking her to a secret girls’ school in a private home. The students’ brightly colored headscarves stand in for their bravery and eagerness to learn.”--The New York Times Book Review
"Winter tells another powerful story, based on true events, of an individual activist whose singular courage brings social change...Winter artfully distills enormous concepts into spare, potent sentences that celebrate Herat’s rich cultural, Islamic history...even as they detail the harrowing realities of Taliban rule. And in her signature style of deceptively simple compositions and rich, opaque colors, Winter’s acrylic paintings give a palpable sense of both Nasreen’s everyday terror and the expansive joy that she finds in learning."--Booklist
Top customer reviews
Education's benefit illustrated.