This past weekend Erica, our RHAcademic co-worker Lani, and I flew to Atlanta for the National Council for Social Studies conference. Aside from the great perks of traveling (my personal fave is not having to make my own bed!) one wonderful thing about conferences is that it gives me a chance to discover or rediscover books that somehow missed my radar. This was the case with I am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced.
I picked up a galley copy of this slim book as I was drawn to the image of a beautiful little girl on the cover. Then I noticed the title. 10 years old and divorced?! I was immediately intrigued. Nujood, a Yemeni girl, had no record of the exact date or year of her birth but it was around age ten that she was married, without her consent, to a man three times her senior. She endured life as a wife, forbidden to play or do other childlike things, until one day she decided to get out. She slipped away to a courthouse where she asked to see a judge and demanded a divorce. Her request was granted and Nujood became the first child bride in Yemen to divorce her husband, setting precendence for so many others.
She writes, “I am a simple village girl whose family had to move to the capital, and I have always obeyed the orders of the men in my family. Since forever, I have learned to say yes to everything. Today, I have decided to say no.” Nujood’s story is written in her voice and its childlike simplicity is exactly what makes it so powerful. Actions are alluded to, feelings are described, and the reader experiences it all with Nujood, from her family struggles to tasting “bizza” and “bebsi” for the first time.
While reading, I often found myself imagining what it would have been like to read this book as a young adult. It is a perfect addition to your Young Adult collection, great for parent/teen reading groups and school assignments. I have no doubt readers of all ages will be inspired and humbled by Nujood’s experience.
I am Nujood will be published in March 2010. Be sure to add it to your lists!