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Words in the Dust

Words in the Dust

by Trent Reedy

Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her — "Inshallah," God willing.

Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to her village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha — but can she dare to hope they'll come true?

11, 12, 13
Interest Level
Grades 5 - 9
Grade Level Equivalent
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading
Scholastic Inc.
Number of Pages

About the Author

Trent Reedy Trent Reedy is the author of Words in the Dust, an extraordinary novel about a courageous girl in Afghanistan who was inspired by a real girl the author had met while serving in the military. This widely acclaimed debut novel received a Christopher Award and was also an Al Roker’s Book Club pick on NBC’s Today Show. Born and raised in Iowa, where he taught high school English, Trent Reedy and his wife now live in Spokane, Washington. Visit him online at

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