Words in the Dust is a tender tale of two Afghan girls affected by war, circumstance and a facial deformity. Zulaikha, otherwise known as Donkeyface, by the local boys who taunt her, prefers to keep her mouth and nose covered. But hiding her cleft lip doesn’t solve the challenge she faces.
When American soldiers discover her problem and want to help, she is both overwhelmed and thrilled. They offer her the surgery that will fix her mouth and teeth. But there are challenges and misunderstandings. She wonders if the soldiers will be able to help her.
Her beautiful sister, Zeynab, is excited for Zulaikha. They’ve shared everything, but life is changing. Zeynab will have her own challenges.
As Afganistan works toward a better life for its people, Zulaikha realizes her own need for growth. She finds strength within herself as she traces her words in the dust.
When a character stays in your heart after you close the book, you know that book is worth talking about. This book is worth talking about. Zulaikha and Zeynab now occupy a precious spot in my heart and when I hear about Afghanistan, I will now see these girls in my mind.
As an American soldier, Trent Reedy witnessed Zulaikha’s story and vowed to share it. Zeynab’s story is also based on experiences he saw while helping reconstruct roads and schools in Farah Province.
Trent Reedy’s Keynote, Winning the War: The Greatest Weapon isn’t a Weapon at All is bound to be a highlight of the upcoming WIFYR conference. I anticipate that he will leave an impression just as his book has.