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- ISBN-13: 9780544612310
- ISBN-10: 0544612310
- Publisher: Clarion Books
- Publish Date: May 2016
- Page Count: 378
- Reading Level: Ages 9-UP
- Dimensions: 1.25 x 6 x 8.25 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-03-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Dumas (Funny in Farsi) sets her first middle grade novel in the late 1970s and early 1980s, focusing on the Iranian Revolution and the 444 days American hostages were held in the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. Born in Iran, Zomorod Yousefzadeh rechristens herself Cindy when her family moves from Compton, Calif., to Newport Beach. She struggles with the usual new-girl problems, but hers are compounded by being an immigrant from a country unfamiliar to most Americans. Zomorod’s situation takes on fear and tension when the Iranian Revolution breaks out; she and her family struggle with anxiety over friends and relatives at home, as well as their own precarious future in America after her engineer father loses his job for political reasons. Conversations often turn into history and culture lessons, though they evolve naturally within the plot and deliver information that remains relevant today. Filled with humorous touches and authentic cultural references, Dumas’s story will resonate not just with young immigrants but with any readers trying to adapt to new situations. Ages 10–12. Agent: Mel Berger, William Morris Endeavor. (May)
A hilarious and heartfelt look at being a young immigrant
It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel is a charming, authentic and insightful account of an immigrant trying to make sense of America. The book also provides a peek at a moment in history when relations between Iran and the U.S. were severed due to the hostage crisis of 1979.
Delightful young Zomorod Yousefzadeh goes by Cindy, taken from “The Brady Bunch” television show. She is a new arrival to Southern California, where she must figure out the unwritten rules of middle-school conduct while serving as her mother’s interpreter. Her desire to fit in, combined with her kind-hearted embarrassment of her parents, leaves readers rooting for Cindy’s success.
This coming-of-age story takes a dark turn with the backdrop of heightening tensions between the U.S. and Iran. As an Iranian, Cindy is expected to be the expert on this political crisis, and she does her best to help people understand the situation. But she doesn’t fully succeed in her attempts to educate people, and she and her family become victims of a hate crime and racist remarks. While trying to discover the perpetrators of the crime, Cindy realizes she, too, was quick to unfairly judge a classmate.
After her award-winning memoir, Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh Dumas makes a humorous mark with her semi-autobiographical middle-grade debut.