Dumas, Firoozeh It Ain’t So Awful Falafel, 378 pgs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Clarion Books), 2016. $16.99. Language: G ( 0 swears, 0 “f”); Mature Content: G; Violence: G.
12-year-old Zomorod Yousefzadeh (don’t worry about pronouncing her name, she goes by Cindy) has recently moved from Iran to Newport Beach, California. Her father is an engineer who specializes in building things for the oil industry so he is employed by an American company. Cindy was born in Iran, but has spent most of her life in California (they lived in Compton before.) Her English is fluent - she translates for her mother, and most of all she wants to make friends and be a regular American girl. But it’s the late 1970s and things are going bad in Iran; there is a conflict between the Shah and the Ayatollah Khomeini. When the Americans get involved, a group of students in Iran take hostages. Suddenly Cindy’s “perfect american life” isn’t so great anymore. Anti-Iranian feelings at school and in her community change everything.
This is a fabulous book about culture, friendship, fitting in and not judging people by their heritage. A well written statement about an historical event that is so relevant today. A must read by middle school students, the content is completely clean so elementary students would find it appealing as well (Cindy is 6th grade through the 8th grade.) The message of tolerance and acceptance comes across without being pushy.
EL, MS - Essential; HS - Advisable Lisa Librarian