Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan (Hardcover)
Winter 2009 Kids' List
“Nasreen's Secret School is a powerful, thought-provoking true story of a young Afghan girl who literally lost her voice when her parents disappeared, and who regained it by daring to attend a school for girls that was forbidden by the Taliban. Reading about Nasreen and her fellow students will make you appreciate the value of education and freedom.”
— Barb Bassett, The Red Balloon Bookshop, Saint Paul, MN
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.
Jeanette Winter is a celebrated picture book creator whose acclaimed works include The Snow Man; The Little Owl & the Big Tree: A Christmas Story; Oil; The Secret Project; and Diego, all written by Jonah Winter, and her own Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia; Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan; and Our House Is on Fire: Greta Thunberg’s Call to Save the Planet, which has been translated into twenty-one languages.
"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’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