Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan

Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan

Jeanette Winter
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Simon and Schuster, 2009   ISBN: 978-1416994374

Not long after the Taliban soldiers come to her town in Afghanistan, Nasreen’s father is taken away. After some time of waiting, hoping, and worrying, Nasreen’s mother risks everything by going out into public unaccompanied to look for her husband, and she doesn’t come home. After her mother’s disappearance, Nasreen stops talking. She stays “inside herself” until her grandmother begins to despair that Nasreen will get over the loss of her parents.

At this time in Afghanistan, girls are not allowed to get an education. Though she knows that what she is doing is very dangerous, Nasreen’s grandmother decides to take Nasreen to a secret school. She hopes getting an education will help Nasreen see that there is a big world beyond her troubles, a world full of wonderful things.

This powerful picture book will show young readers that even today there are places where getting an education is something that some people have to fight for; it is not something to be taken for granted. With a simple but poignant text and warm acrylic paintings, this book should be on the shelf in every school classroom.