My one little word for 2014 is balance, but over the past week it’s been a challenge to balance work, family, writing, and reading. I’ve read blog posts that are funny and sweet, moving and thought-provoking. But I haven’t really had time to read any books. So when I got home this afternoon, I scanned my shelf and found The Girl with a Brave Heart: A Tale from Tehran (Barefoot Books, 2013), by Rita Jahanforuz and illustrated by Vali Mintzi.
This is a lovely book. Jahanforuz tells the story of Shiraz, a young girl whose mother died in childbirth. Her father remarries, and his new wife and her young daughter come to live with Shiraz and her father. At first, “the family lived happily together and Shiraz’s stepmother treated her kindly.” But after Shiraz’s father dies, her world is changed. Like Cinderella, she is forced to do all the housework. Shiraz’s life is changed again
When the wind blows Shiraz’s ball of wool into the garden next door, she spends the day helping and caring for the old lady who lives there, with miraculous results. Rendered in a rich, vibrant palette evocative of its Iranian setting, this unforgettable fable has a message that is universal: “When people are sad, they do not always know how to ask for what they need. (from Barefootbooks.com)
Watch Jahanforuz describe how she came to write The Girl with a Brave Heart here:
Don’t miss The Girl with a Brave Heart, a book Pamela Paul, writing in The New York Times called “a heartwarming vindication of good-heartedness.”