Hey there Savvy Readers!
As you know, we are big Nadia Hashimi fans over here! For a nice, relaxing read (a change of pace from the dramatic thrillers I normally pick up), I decided to try out her debut middle grade novel, One Half from the East! There are tons of great lessons to take from youth-oriented fiction, so whether you just want to kick back with a lighter read, or are looking for a good recommendation for your kids or students, look no further!
One Half from the East follows Obayda, a preteen girl living in Afghanistan with her parents and three older sisters. A tragedy strikes in her family, and in order to bring good luck back into the house, her aunt suggests Obayda become a bacha posh, or a girl dressed as a boy. Obayda turns into Obayd, wearing pants instead of dresses, going to the boys classes instead of the girls, and doing things she never could as a girl. Throughout the course of the book, Obayda learns not only how to be herself, but also how to help her family in a way she never would have never known how to had she not become a bacha posh. Here are my top 5 reasons for why you should check out One Half from the East!
1. Family and friend love is truly at the heart of this story. The lengths that Obayda’s family goes to in order to protect and care for one another is the true meaning of family. But Obayda also meets some amazing friends along the way who make her journey as a boy an amazing experience!
2. The subtle ties to acceptance make this a really heartwarming read. Instead of violence and judgment when people are different, Hashimi writes a story of accepting one another no matter what. There are very few hateful characters, which allows Obayda to discover who she is as a boy without fear of violence or judgement.
3. Throughout the book, we see many characters who are afraid. Obayda is scared to go to school as a boy, and her father falls into a deep depression after his accident. Both characters slowly learn how to be true to themselves and conquer their fear after something has changed them.
4. Hope runs strong in Obayda’s family and life. Obayda’s mother hopes for a happy family, and Obayda hopes to stay a boy. The biggest source of hope, however, is in Rahim, Obayda’s best friend. We watch Rahim become strong and proud, and when his life is turned upside down, he never gives up hope that he will be able to become the person he truly wants to be.
5. And finally, the power of change. Throughout the story we see many different aspects of change, and how each character deals with it. The ultimate lesson though, is that change can be an amazing and powerful thing that teaches us more about ourselves than we ever could know without it!
So there you have it, Savvy Readers! I hope you pick up a book that puts you outside of your reading comfort zone (we have tons of recommendations here!). Let us know what you think of One Half from the East on Tiwtter @SavvyReader!
Oh, and one more thing! We have a new Nadia Hashimi Author Badge on the 50 Book Pledge! Read any of her books (including this one!) to receive the badge.
Follow me on Twitter at @RyaMarrelli