Though not particularly full of machismo, I am not prone to cry, but this book made the old eyes water just a bit.
Based on a true story during Taliban-occupied Afghanistan, Nasreen is a little girl whose parents are taken by Taliban troops. She retreats within herself, no longer smiling or talking. Desperate, her grandmother takes her to a secret school—a place forbidden for young girls by the Taliban. There Nasreen is given a glimpse of the outside world, a place where artistry, intelligence, and learning is valued.
Aimed at children, I picked this book up for my own daughter. I wanted her to have a worldly view. However, I think I learned just as much from Nasreen’s Secret School as she will. It reaffirmed my faith in the power of education and the importance of allowing children all over the world to learn. It reminded me that through academics, a child can realize self-worth and overcome isolation. It made me proud to be an educator myself.
The art is magnificent as well. And though delivered in a simple fashion, it only serves to bolster the emotional impact of an already powerful narrative. They are stunning not just for their colors and style, but for the passion they convey.
I completely recommend Nasreen’s Secret School not just for children, but also for adults who may have forgotten the significance of a child’s education.