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Books to Read with Half the Sky

January 17, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Bell, Julia. Dirty Work (Walker 2008)
Two teenaged girls with little in common must find a way to work together if they are ever to escape their captors after being abducted into an international prostitution ring.

Collins, Pat Lowery. The Fattening Hut (Houghton Mifflin 2003)
A teenage girl living on a tropical island runs away to escape her tribe’s customs of arranged marriages and female genital mutilation.

Ellis, Deborah. The Breadwinner (Douglas & McIntyre 2001)
Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women’s freedom and behavior, eleven-year-old Parvana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father’s arrest.

Grindley, Sally. Spilled Water (Bloomsbury 2004)
After her father’s death, Lu Si-Yan’s uncle sells her to a rich family who expect her to work as their servant until she is old enough to marry their son, but when she runs away things only get worse.

Kessler, Cristina. No Condition is Permanent (Philomel 2000)
When shy fourteen-year-old Jodie accompanies her anthropologist mother to live in Sierra Leone, she befriends a local girl but encounters a cultural divide that cannot be crossed.

McCormick, Patricia. Sold (Hyperion 2006)(Guide)
Thirteen-year-old Lakshmi leaves her poor mountain home in Nepal thinking that she is to work in the city as a maid only to find that she has been sold into the sex slave trade in India and that there is no hope of escape.

Perkins, Mitali. Rickshaw Girl (Charlesbridge 2007)
In her Bangladesh village, ten-year-old Naimi excels at painting designs called alpanas, but to help her impoverished family financially she would have to be a boy–or disguise herself as one.

Purcell, Kim. Trafficked (Viking 2012)(Guide)
A seventeen-year-old Moldovan girl whose parents have been killed is brought to the United States to work as a slave for a family in Los Angeles.

Reedy, Trent. Words in the Dust (Scholastic 2011)
Zulaikha, a thirteen-year-old girl in Afghanistan, faces a series of frightening but exhilarating changes in her life as she defies her father and secretly meets with an old woman who teaches her to read, her older sister gets married, and American troops offer her surgery to fix her disfiguring cleft lip.

Russell, Ching Yeung. Child Bride (Boyds Mills 1999)
In the 1940’s in southeastern China, eleven-year-old Ying will do whatever it takes to avoid the marriage arranged for her by a grandmother she barely knows because it would take her away from the grandmother who is raising her.

Sheth, Kashmira. Keeping Corner (Hyperion 2007)
In India in the 1940s, twelve-year-old Leela’s happy, spoiled childhood ends when her husband since age nine, whom she barely knows, dies, leaving her a widow whose only hope of happiness could come from Mahatma Ghandi’s social and political reforms.

Whelan, Gloria. Homeless Bird (HarperCollins, 2000)(Guide)
When thirteen-year-old Koly enters into an ill-fated arranged marriage, she must either suffer a destiny dictated by India’s tradition or find the courage to oppose it.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. No Laughter Here (HarperCollins 2004)
In Queens, New York, ten-year-old Akilah is determined to find out why her closest friend, Victoria, is silent and withdrawn after returning from a trip to her homeland, Nigeria.


Anderson, Judith. An Equal Chance for Girls and Women (Sea-to-Sea 2010)
Follows the stories of four girls, in India, China, Afghanistan, and Angola to show the struggles faced by women around the world for equality, and looks at what is being done to remedy the problem.

Barakat, Ibtisam. Tasting the Sky (Farrar, Straus, Giroux 2007)
A memoir in which the author describes her childhood as a Palestinian refugee, discussing her family’s experiences during and after the Six-Day War, and the freedom she felt at learning to read and write.

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