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Poignant, funny, heart-breaking, true
‘Every story is the sound of a storyteller begging to stay alive’, says Khosrou – or Daniel as he’s known to his new classmates in Oklahoma - the narrator of the many wonderful stories that make up this book. Central of course is his own story, how with his mother and sister he had to flee his home in Iran, leaving his father behind, but there are also the stories of his grandparents and great-grandparents, plus the myths that he’s grown up with. Horribly picked on at school and tormented at home by his new step-father, he shares his stories Scheherazade-like with his class and with us, the lucky readers, and because of that we know that one day he will be whole again. Poignant, touching, funny and heart-breaking, this is a book in a million, a story that will connect with every person who reads it and become part of their own.
At the front of a middle school classroom in Oklahoma, a boy named Khosrou (whom everyone calls Daniel ) stands, trying to tell a story. His story. But no one believes a word he says. To them he is a dark-skinned, hairy-armed boy with a big butt whose lunch smells funny; who makes things up and talks about poop too much.
But Khosrou's stories, stretching back years, and decades, and centuries, are beautiful, and terrifying, from the moment his family fled Iran in the middle of the night with the secret police moments behind them, back to the sad, cement refugee camps of Italy.and further back to the fields near the river Aras, where rain-soaked flowers bled red like the yolk of sunset burst over everything, and further back still to the Jasmine-scented city of Isfahan.
We bounce between a school bus of kids armed with paper clip missiles and spitballs to the heroines and heroes of Khosrou's family's past, who ate pastries that made people weep and cry Akh, Tamar! and touched carpets woven with precious gems.
Like Scheherazade in a hostile classroom, Daniel weaves a tale to save his own life: to stake his claim to the truth.
And it is (a true story). It is Daniel's.
A distinctive voice. A rare treasure of a book. -Publishers Weekly, starred review
A modern epic. - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
A story that soars. Readers will be transported. -The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review
Poignant and powerful. A story of heartbreak and resilience. -Foreward Reviews, starred review
|Publication date:||1st September 2020|
|Year Groups:||Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4|
|Topics:||Gritty Reads, Historical Fiction, True Stories, Warfare / Battles|
Daniel Nayeri was born in Iran and spent a couple of years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. He is the publisher of Odd Dot, an imprint of Macmillan, making him one of the youngest publishers in the industry. He has served on the CBC diversity committee and the CBC panel committee.More About Daniel Nayeri