It Ain't So Awful, Falafel
Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can't distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. A poignant yet lighthearted middle grade debut from the author of the best-selling Funny in Farsi.
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
This is loosely based on Dumas' own life, and we must be exactly the same age, since I was in middle school when the Iranian hostage situation was going on. I, too, remember watching the nightly news and hearing about how many days the people had been in captivity, and remember how it affected the election that year. Cindy is often asked by Cindy's family to explain what is going on in Iran, and while the sections describing the history verge on the didactic, they were also very interesting, and a great overview of the events of the time. Other details about the 1970s, like the clothing and trends, make this a great choice for an entertaining historical read.
This will be interesting also to students who are curious about the immigrant experience as well. Cindy loves her parents, but is embarrassed by their accents and their behavior. She is also tired of translating for her mother, and wishes that her mother didn't cry all the time. The neighbors, teachers, and students are all understanding and supportive of Cindy, and there is even a mention of a teacher who brought Cindy a Halloween costume in elementary school because her family didn't understand the tradition, something which happened in the author's own life. This is a great example of those of us whose ancestors were not recent immigrants.
It's hard enough to fit in with the crowd during middle school when your parents are from the US, and middle school readers love stories about how difficult this process is. Adding an immigrant perspective is a great way to broaden their outlook and make them more compassionate to their classmates. Hand this fun book to readers who enjoyed Budhos' Tell Us We're Home, Ross' Kiki and Jacques, Senzai's Saving Kabul Corner or even Traci Jones' Finding My Place and tell them to see if their parents have the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack to play while they are reading it!
There are no user reviews for this listing.