Synopses & Reviews
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.
"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 sentence may also elicit some thoughtful kid consideration." The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"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
"Winter's (The Librarian of Basra) understated but powerful story is set in modern Afghanistan under the Taliban when girls were forbidden to attend school. Offering an adult's perspective on the changes the country has seen, Nasreen's grandmother serves as storyteller, her narrative obliquely noting that since the soldiers arrived in Herat, 'The art and music and learning are gone. Dark clouds hang over the city.' After soldiers take Nasreen's father away 'with no explanation,' her mother defies the law by leaving home alone to look for him, never returning. Nasreen refuses to smile or talk, and her worried grandmother sneaks her into a 'secret school' in a private home, where Nasreen eventually speaks again, makes friends and learns about Afghanistan's brighter past. Though the child's parents are still missing, her grandmother takes comfort in her realization that 'the soldiers can never close the windows' that the school has opened for Nasreen. Framed by bright, striped borders, Winter's handsome acrylic folk art effectively imparts the ominous omnipresence of Taliban soldiers, Nasreen's social and intellectual transformation and the book's hopeful final note. Ages 6 9." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
Jeanette Winter is a renowned picture book creator whose acclaimed works include Nanuk the Ice Bear; Malala, A Brave Girl from Pakistan/Iqbal, A Brave Boy from Pakistan: Two Stories of Bravery; Henri’s Scissors; Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia; The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq; and Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan.