This month NPR's Back-Seat Book Club for 9 to 14-year-olds has two selections: The Hundred Dresses and Shooting Kabul.
The Hundred Dresses is a 1944 classic by Eleanor Estes. In this age where bullying is a serious topic, the story of Wanda Petronski, who is teased for her name, where she lives, and the fact that she wears the same faded dress every day, will really hit-home with readers. Wanda insists she has one hundred beautiful dresses at home and when the girls at school mock her for it, she stops coming to school and her family decides to move to a bigger city. Her classmate Maddie feels horrible for not standing up for Wanda and seeks her out, but she finds the Petronskis are already gone. And then something amazing is revealed about Wanda and her hundred dresses.
The second selection for February is Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai, the story of eleven-year-old Fadi and his family who are refugees from Afghanistan, having arrived in the United States in the summer of 2001. In their rush to leave Kabul amidst a great crowd of people, Fadi’s six-year-old sister tragically gets left behind. The family plans to return for her but then the events of September 11 happen and their prospects of finding her seem slim. Fadi hears about a photography contest with a grand prize of a trip to India and hopes this is his chance to bring his sister home.
Both of these amazing stories explore themes of acceptance and believing in your dreams, and are not to be missed!
To participate, read the books then send your questions to NPR. You can also submit a photo. Learn more on the NPR website and stay tuned for N.H. Senzai answering questions on All Things Considered at the end of February!