Arthur A. Levine Books
Arthur A. Levine Books 

Words in the Dust Words in the Dust

Written by Trent Reedy

A fascinating portrait of Afghanistan through the eyes of one brave girl

Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her difficult stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. In the meantime, with the support of her father and sister, Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her -- "Inshallah," God willing.

Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her Afghan poetry, and the Americans come to their village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha -- but can she dare to hope they'll come true?

Inspired by a girl whom the author met in Afghanistan, this is not only a fascinating portrait of life in a country we Americans hear about, yet rarely see from inside, but a wonderful middle-grade story of choices, changes, chances, and discoveries.

Introduction by Katherine Paterson.


“[T]he evolution of key relationships presents a nuanced look at family dynamics and Afghan culture. Though unsentimental and fraught with tragedy, Reedy’s narrative offers hope and will go a long way toward helping readers understand the people behind the headlines.” -- Publishers Weekly

“Drawing from personal experiences in Afghanistan, Reedy creates a multidimensional heroine who introspectively reflects on how to “be patient enough to forget all the ugliness and focus on . . . good things” in an oppressive culture where women are undervalued. An inside look at an ordinary Afghanistan family trying to survive in extraordinary times, it is both heart-wrenching and timely.” -- Kirkus Reviews

“Reedy based his debut on real people and places he encountered while serving with the National Guard in Afghanistan, and the extensive detail about Afghani customs gives the story the feel of a docu-novel while also creating a vivid sense of place and memorable characters. Reedy skillfully avoids tidy resolutions: the grim fate of Zulaikha’s sister, who is married to a much older man, offers a heartbreaking counterpoint to Zulaikha’s exciting new possibilities. A glossary of Dari phrases, an extensive author’s note, suggested reading lists, and an introduction by Katherine Paterson complete this deeply moving view of a young girl caught between opportunity and tradition in contemporary Afghanistan.” -- Booklist

“Based on actual events experienced by the author, a recently returned veteran of the war in Afghanistan, this powerful novel gains its impact from Zulaikha’s narration. . . . Readers will readily find themselves rooting for Zulaikha in this simply told yet thoughtful story.” -- Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Infused with poetry, and wrought with hardship, the story gives a bleak, but ultimately hopeful, portrayal of girlhood in Afghanistan. It is full of hard truths, painful lessons, beautiful human interaction, and the promise of possibility.” -- School Library Journal

“Reedy demonstrates a gift for empathy, deftly tapping into the emotional inner space of a girl whose entire life has been shaped by her deformity.” -- Los Angeles Times


2012 ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults
Parents’ Choice Recommended Seal
2012 Amelia Bloomer Project list
2012 SCBWI Golden Kite Honor, Fiction
A Notable Social Studies Trade Book for Young People 2012
Christopher Award, 2012
2012 South Asia Book Award Children’s and Young Adult Literature Highly Commended Book


Scholastic Store
Barnes & Noble
Indie Bound

Spring 2011
Middle Grade Novel
ISBN: 978-0-545-26125-8
Price: $17.99 / $20.99
Trim Size: 5½” x 8¼”
Page Count: 272
Foreign Rights: Erin Murphy Literary Agency
Translation Rights: Erin Murphy Literary Agency
Rights Available? yes


Divided We Fall

Divided We Fall, Book 2: Burning Nation

If You're Reading This

Stealing Air

Home | News | This Season | Bookshelf | Arthur's Blog
About Us | About Arthur | FAQ | Submissions | Contact Us

© 2001 - 2005 Arthur A. Levine Books All Rights Reserved

cialis prijs cialis kopen viagra voor vrouwen kamagra kopen viagra prijs

oakley solbriller mont blanc kuglepen michael kors tasker ghd glattejern ghd fladjern

kamagra acheter levitra ou cialis cialis generique viagra prix viagra 50mg kamagra en ligne kamagra avis viagra acheter kamagra pharmacie cialis lilly levitra acheter kamagra pas cher viagra pas cher cialis sans ordonnance viagra en ligne lovegra avis viagra generique cialis 20 kamagra 100 cialis original viagra ou cialis viagra sans ordonnance levitra pas cher cialis en ligne kamagra 100mg