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Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education

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Razia dreams of getting an education, but in her small village in Afghanistan, girls haven't been allowed to attend school for many years. When a new girls' school opens in the village, a determined Razia must convince her father and oldest brother that educating her would be best for her, their family and their community. Razia's Ray of Hope is the latest inspiring story Razia dreams of getting an education, but in her small village in Afghanistan, girls haven't been allowed to attend school for many years. When a new girls' school opens in the village, a determined Razia must convince her father and oldest brother that educating her would be best for her, their family and their community. Razia's Ray of Hope is the latest inspiring story from the?CitizenKid collection. It is based on the true stories of the?students of the Zabuli Education Center for Girls just outside?of Kabul, founded by a generous and resourceful woman named?Razia Jan, a CNN hero, who also appears in the story.


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Razia dreams of getting an education, but in her small village in Afghanistan, girls haven't been allowed to attend school for many years. When a new girls' school opens in the village, a determined Razia must convince her father and oldest brother that educating her would be best for her, their family and their community. Razia's Ray of Hope is the latest inspiring story Razia dreams of getting an education, but in her small village in Afghanistan, girls haven't been allowed to attend school for many years. When a new girls' school opens in the village, a determined Razia must convince her father and oldest brother that educating her would be best for her, their family and their community. Razia's Ray of Hope is the latest inspiring story from the?CitizenKid collection. It is based on the true stories of the?students of the Zabuli Education Center for Girls just outside?of Kabul, founded by a generous and resourceful woman named?Razia Jan, a CNN hero, who also appears in the story.

30 review for Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education

  1. 5 out of 5

    Bhebden Hebden

    This inspirational story unfolds as a young girl’s dream of attending school in her small village becomes a possibility. Razia learns of a school being built just for girls from her grandfather, Baba gi. He recalls when woman were allowed to be educated in his country and served the community in professional capacities. Baba gi understands Razia’s desire to learn to read and write and is faced with the difficult task of convincing Razia’s father and older brother that it is possible for her to a This inspirational story unfolds as a young girl’s dream of attending school in her small village becomes a possibility. Razia learns of a school being built just for girls from her grandfather, Baba gi. He recalls when woman were allowed to be educated in his country and served the community in professional capacities. Baba gi understands Razia’s desire to learn to read and write and is faced with the difficult task of convincing Razia’s father and older brother that it is possible for her to attend school and maintain her chores before and after school. Based on the experiences of students attending the Zabuli Education Center for Girls near Kabul, Afghanistan this story provides a glimpse into the Afghan culture highlighting struggles involving education within families. The background information located at the back of the book features Razia Jan, who is the founder and he driving force behind of the school. Raszia Jan is also featured in the storyline and depicted within the moving illustrations. Bleak statistics concerning the status of education for children world-wide are also presented as a source of information intended to evoke discussions. Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of Education by Elizabeth Suneby and illustrated by Suana Verelst won the MEOC: Middle East Picture Book Award in 2014.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Krista the Krazy Kataloguer

    Razia lives in a village in Afghanistan, and she is excited when she learns that a school for girls is being built there. But will the males in her family let her go? The only flaw in the story is that it's not entirely clear why her older brother Aziz, who has never been to school himself, is so against her going. The woman who comes to the school to teach is a real person, Razia Jan, who was born in Afghanistan and raised in the United States. Information about her is provided at the end of th Razia lives in a village in Afghanistan, and she is excited when she learns that a school for girls is being built there. But will the males in her family let her go? The only flaw in the story is that it's not entirely clear why her older brother Aziz, who has never been to school himself, is so against her going. The woman who comes to the school to teach is a real person, Razia Jan, who was born in Afghanistan and raised in the United States. Information about her is provided at the end of the book, as well as discussion questions and classroom activities. I didn't realize until the end of the book that the title has a double meaning. Razia's Ray of Hope refers not only to the child Razia's hope of going to school but also to the name of Razia Jan's organization to educate girls in Afghanistan. I loved this book in the CitizenKid series, most likely because it was told in the first person and therefore had more of an emotional impact. I also enjoyed the illustrations, which were part cut outs from photographs combined with artwork. Highly recommended!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Julie Williams

    This book is based on real life experiences at the Zabuli Education Center for Girls near Kabul, Afghanistan. In this book Razia really wants to go to school. Her younger brothers go but her father and older brother are concerned that going to school will keep her from helping her family. Razia is very persistent and with the help of her grandfather, mother, and the teacher convince her father and older brother that she should be allowed to attend. This book would be very good for students who do This book is based on real life experiences at the Zabuli Education Center for Girls near Kabul, Afghanistan. In this book Razia really wants to go to school. Her younger brothers go but her father and older brother are concerned that going to school will keep her from helping her family. Razia is very persistent and with the help of her grandfather, mother, and the teacher convince her father and older brother that she should be allowed to attend. This book would be very good for students who don't always appreciate the value of education. In addition, it allows them to see and understand another culture. On the flyleaf it says that "around the world, about 69 million school-age children are not in school". I have been to Guatemala many times and although school is free many children do not attend. This book and others like it can draw attention to the problem and hopefully inspire others, like Razia Jan, to go and teach or help out in some way.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    1. Text to Self Connection: As an educator, this hits close to home. Much like our students sometimes do, I definitely take it for granted that I have an opportunity to educate all different types of children each day. While we may complain about the bureaucracy, we are extremely lucky to have or public education system. This book helped remind me how truly curious each child is, and how they will find ways to learn against all odds. Razia eaves drops on her brothers homework sessions and begs i 1. Text to Self Connection: As an educator, this hits close to home. Much like our students sometimes do, I definitely take it for granted that I have an opportunity to educate all different types of children each day. While we may complain about the bureaucracy, we are extremely lucky to have or public education system. This book helped remind me how truly curious each child is, and how they will find ways to learn against all odds. Razia eaves drops on her brothers homework sessions and begs incessantly to go to the new girls school that’s being built in her village. She sees education as the door to opportunity and won’t stop until she gets there. This was truly an inspiration (and exactly what I needed the night before I begin another week in middle school!) :) 2. This book does a nice job of helping students to understand life under the Taliban in Afghanistan without getting into complex history or details that would be meant for more mature audiences. It helps show that school is not a freedom granted to all children around the world. Information about Afghan history is weaved in when her grandpa explains that before the Taliban women had many important jobs. The mixed media art along the way also does a great job of helping students to understand what day-to-day life would look like by showing traditional rugs, clothing, food, etc. 3. Remembering – Who does Razia rely on to ask her father and brother about going to school? Understanding – Why is going to school so important to Razia? Applying – What examples support that Razia’s family cares for her? Analyzing – What ideas justify the final decision to allow Razia to go to school? Evaluating – How has Razia’s story made you think differently about your own life and schooling? Explain. Creating – Write a letter from Razia Jan’s point of view convincing Razia’s father and brother to let her attend the girl’s school.

  5. 4 out of 5

    MartyAnne

    TITLE: Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education SERIES: Citizen Kid Series AUTHOR: by Elizabeth Suneby ILLUSTRATOR: Suana Verelst GENRE/AUDIENCE: Kids 8-12 REVIEW: This is an awesome book. Razia lives in Afghanistan, where many girls never get to go to school. She is surprised when a school just for girls opens near her home. She has dearly wished to learn to read and write. She asks adults she trusts to talk to her family. Razia's passion for school and learning is strong. However, it TITLE: Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education SERIES: Citizen Kid Series AUTHOR: by Elizabeth Suneby ILLUSTRATOR: Suana Verelst GENRE/AUDIENCE: Kids 8-12 REVIEW: This is an awesome book. Razia lives in Afghanistan, where many girls never get to go to school. She is surprised when a school just for girls opens near her home. She has dearly wished to learn to read and write. She asks adults she trusts to talk to her family. Razia's passion for school and learning is strong. However, it has been a long time since girls were educated in Afghanistan. Will Razia get to go? ILLUSTRATIONS: These are fabulous mixes of collage, drawing, fabric rendering, so much of the layers of pattern of traditional clothing and other objects in this region. It makes the story even more realistic. TAGS: citizenkid-series, social-awareness, cultural-diversity, family-stories, PERMALINK: http://martysreads.blogspot.com/2013/... READALIKES: See List at http://www.citizenkidcentral.com/Read... ----- ABOUT THIS REVIEWER: I am a book lover and aspiring librarian. My passion is in reader's advisory-- finding a reader the right book to be read next! This means I read very widely. My Blog on Blogger had over 700 hits in July.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    Elizabeth Suneby's story of the Zabuli Education Center for Girls is a great example of children's literature sharing cultural diversity. Razia's dream to attend school and the various obstacles she must overcome are very realistic for girls living in Afghanistan. There are customs and traditions, pressure by groups like the Taliban, financial issues, and other problems that girls in the U.S. don't have to face. The reactions of Razia's family to her request to attend school are very normal for Elizabeth Suneby's story of the Zabuli Education Center for Girls is a great example of children's literature sharing cultural diversity. Razia's dream to attend school and the various obstacles she must overcome are very realistic for girls living in Afghanistan. There are customs and traditions, pressure by groups like the Taliban, financial issues, and other problems that girls in the U.S. don't have to face. The reactions of Razia's family to her request to attend school are very normal for families living in her village - they are not extreme or fanatical. The school's founder understands the objections and answers them truthfully and respectfully in a way that the family can accept. I especially like the activities at the end of the story that can help a class of American students see what the odds are for a girl like Razia to receive an education. The "Typical School Day" sheets provided at www.citizenkidcentral.com help students compare their school day here in the U.S. to a day for students in Razia's school. These comparisons make it much easier to grasp what a different lifestyle children in Afghanistan have from American children. This would be a good book to combine with research projects on education activists like Mulala Yousafzai and Razia Jan. I read an e-book provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    Noble in intention and beautiful in its illustrations, this tale is both a reminder of a dark reality, and a sliver of hope to its future. Razia is a determined girl who wants to go to school. However, living where she does, does not guarantee that she will be allowed to. So it is up to her to convince her family. The book is very careful not to criticize those who oppose her going, instead it focuses on the benefits she could provide the family by having an education. Still, this is a sensitive Noble in intention and beautiful in its illustrations, this tale is both a reminder of a dark reality, and a sliver of hope to its future. Razia is a determined girl who wants to go to school. However, living where she does, does not guarantee that she will be allowed to. So it is up to her to convince her family. The book is very careful not to criticize those who oppose her going, instead it focuses on the benefits she could provide the family by having an education. Still, this is a sensitive topic, which the the author does her best to explain, even including classroom activities in the back to get children involved in the discussion. Each image is made from mixed media; photos, drawings, and bright textures that pop right off the page, give an optimistic look to a hopeful story. Razia is one of the lucky ones, and we delight in her victory, however there are many others who are not as fortunate, and a book like this is an excellent tool to help children here learn about their plight.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Chechoui

    This is a wonderful children's book that all children should read! Boys, girls - everyone! It tells the story of a girl in Afghanistan who wants to go to the new girls school built in her village. She faces resistant from her family who feel a girl's place is in the hone, but eventually they are persuaded. This book is filled with rich collage illustrations. At the end there is a glossary of Dari terms used, as well as curriculum for teachers using this book in class. It also includes statistics This is a wonderful children's book that all children should read! Boys, girls - everyone! It tells the story of a girl in Afghanistan who wants to go to the new girls school built in her village. She faces resistant from her family who feel a girl's place is in the hone, but eventually they are persuaded. This book is filled with rich collage illustrations. At the end there is a glossary of Dari terms used, as well as curriculum for teachers using this book in class. It also includes statistics about the lack of girls' education worldwide. It further shares the real life story this book is based on, which makes it all the more powerful. This book teaches students about Afghan culture, as well as the resistance girls face to learn to read, write and seek an education. It can lead to a discussion about the importance of education as well as gender role expectations. I think all teachers should read this to their students! Ages 5+ Review copy provided by NetGalley and publisher.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kirin

    I usually love books about girls, and education and hope, but for some reason, I didn't love this book.  I really like the pictures with their mixed media feel and textures, but I found small things annoying in the book, that based on other online reviews really put me in the tiny minority.  Most people seem to drool over this 32 page AR 4.1 picture book, I, however, think there are a lot of inspiring books about girls in Afghanistan dreaming of an education that one needs to do something differ I usually love books about girls, and education and hope, but for some reason, I didn't love this book.  I really like the pictures with their mixed media feel and textures, but I found small things annoying in the book, that based on other online reviews really put me in the tiny minority.  Most people seem to drool over this 32 page AR 4.1 picture book, I, however, think there are a lot of inspiring books about girls in Afghanistan dreaming of an education that one needs to do something different, and do it well to win me over. So the basic premise, in this text heavy, tiny font, book, is that Razia learns they are building a new school close to her home in Afghanistan for girls, and wants to go.  Her grandfather also wants her to go, but one of her older brothers, Aziz, won't allow it, so she isn't allowed to go.  No historical lead up explaining why her grandfather talks about days when women were educated, and now it is a rarity.  No summation on the Taliban or the 17 years of war that the grandfather mentions.  So, unless the reader knows some background on Afghanistan, the story may not resonate with them or provide needed context for connection and appreciation.  Even the afterward, about the real founder of the school, offers very little context.  The brother's decision is final until one day he falls ill and can't read the medication directions, and Razia can, eventually he relents and she is allowed to go. The story hints that the rocks around the school are from the quarry he works at so he now feels confident she will be safe, and that his initial refusal was a concern for safety.  They hug and seem loving, and once school starts Razia has to learn as much as she can to be able to go home and teach Aziz and her mom.   I like that when she initially is told no, she doesn't sit and assume a helpless manner, but rather goes to the school and meets the founder herself.  I find it odd, and irksome that the head of the school is also named Razia and it isn't even noted. I get that is her real name, but why have the two main characters in a book have the same name and then not even acknowledge it? I didn't get why the little girl couldn't have a different name, seems distracting to me, and imply that every girl has the same name in Afghanistan.  I also didn't get the hierarchy. The grandfather wants her to go, the father and uncles have legit concerns of where she is needed in helping the family farm and orchard, but why did the brother's opinion trump them all? There is no mention of Islam, but they wear hijabs and burkas, so I think the stereotype is implied.  And that was another thing, they made it seem like she would be corrupted if she went out alone or without the burka on, but then Aziz shakes the headmistress's hand, as if that isn't against religious and custom norms. I felt that the kindness of the brother at the end was disjointed too, a bit too forced. The grandpa seemed kind, but the rest of the family seemed cold and rigid and not overtly concerned with Razia's well being and growth.  Yes, they did have a jerga, to discuss and consider it, but I felt like Razia never had a voice, and while education is important, having a voice is too.  More has to change in society and in literature to give me real hope, and this book sadly fell short.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maureen

    The format of this book is a picture book, but subject matter is not written for young children. Razia is a young girl living in Afghanistan, a country that has not allowed girls to get an education. As things begin to change and a school is built for girls, it is her dream to attend the school and get an education. Razia has secretly been learning to read and write by observing the studies of two of her brothers. Now that a school for girls is being built, she is determined to go. She enlists t The format of this book is a picture book, but subject matter is not written for young children. Razia is a young girl living in Afghanistan, a country that has not allowed girls to get an education. As things begin to change and a school is built for girls, it is her dream to attend the school and get an education. Razia has secretly been learning to read and write by observing the studies of two of her brothers. Now that a school for girls is being built, she is determined to go. She enlists the help of her grandfather, her mother, and even the woman who runs the school, but ultimately the decision will be determined by a family meeting of the elder men of her family - her father, brothers, uncles, and grandfather. Her oldest brother is against it, but Razia is finally able to convince him to change his mind. This is a great story to let children know the value of education and that it is not something that is available to every child in the world. The patriarcial views of another culture are shown in a way that children can understand. Through technology the world is becoming a smaller place and children will need to better understand and empathize with the viewpoints of other cultures. In addition to being a good story, this book is also a great educational tool. The summary on the book jacket and information at the end of the book, including the Education for Everyone and Classroom Activities, give teachers additional talking points and activities to use along with this book. A small glossary of Dari words will help student understand any unfamiliar words from Afghanistan used within the text. A photograph on page 30 allows students to see that while this story is fictional, the events it describes are real. The muted colors in the illustrations put the reader in the mind frame of a dry, desert-like landscape like what would be found in Afghanistan. Most of the pictures are hand drawn with what looks like colored pencils, but several pages intermix photographs of colorful pillows, rugs, and blankets like those that would be seen in Afghanistan in a home. It is an interesting mix of fact and fiction that will keep drawing the reader back to look at the pictures anew.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Abigail Flanagan

    Plot: Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education is a wonderful, multicultural book for all ages. This is a story about a young girl, Razia, who just wants to get an education and go to school. It depicts the life of a young Middle Eastern girl who is under the male elders in her family. She needs permission from the men to be able to go to school and be able to learn. All throughout the book she tells of her longing to go to school but while her grandfather is in favor of her going, Plot: Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education is a wonderful, multicultural book for all ages. This is a story about a young girl, Razia, who just wants to get an education and go to school. It depicts the life of a young Middle Eastern girl who is under the male elders in her family. She needs permission from the men to be able to go to school and be able to learn. All throughout the book she tells of her longing to go to school but while her grandfather is in favor of her going, her brother is not. He believes she needs to be around the house helping out and doing her chores. Eventually Razia's brother gives in and tells her she is allowed to go to school. Literary Merit: This picture book takes a look at a different culture other than the typical American one. The pictures are vivid and show the emotion of everyone in the story. The author uses a great balance of words and pictures. This story introduces the reader to different words in the language of Razia's culture. The author does a wonderful job in making it very easy for the reader to know what the words mean as well. This book has a very happy ending. Genre Considerations: This is a picture book with many multicultural references. This book displays many acts of thankfulness from the main character. Razia is thankful for the men in her life who have made her education possible. This book is realistic in the sense that this very situation happens all the time in the middle east. It opens our eyes to the other cultures around us. Reader Response/Classroom Considerations: I loved reading this book because it helped me to learn about other cultures. I never knew any of the words used in the story so it definitely open my eyes. I used this book as one of my text sets for the topic of being thankful because it shows how thankful one girl is for something we take for granted everyday. I would definitely use this book for my classroom because it is important to incorporate every culture into the classroom. Kids need to be aware of every culture and the countries around them. Teaching them to be thankful is an important aspect and helps them in everyday life.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Maggie Hahn

    Razia, a young girl living in Afghanistan, is ecstatic when she hears the news of a new school for girls is being built in her town! She dreams of learning to read and write like her brothers do. Razia goes to her grandfather to try and convince him to talk to her parents about letting her attend this new school. However, her oldest brothers and parents finally discuss letting her attend, but it doesn't turn out how Razia wishes. Razia must find a way to convince her family to let her attend the Razia, a young girl living in Afghanistan, is ecstatic when she hears the news of a new school for girls is being built in her town! She dreams of learning to read and write like her brothers do. Razia goes to her grandfather to try and convince him to talk to her parents about letting her attend this new school. However, her oldest brothers and parents finally discuss letting her attend, but it doesn't turn out how Razia wishes. Razia must find a way to convince her family to let her attend the new school! This book was inspirational. It shows how young children can be excited for education, and will stop at nothing until they receive it! I really enjoyed this book because it emphasized the importance of education. Sometimes, living in America, it is easy to forget how many rights that all people have here, and other places it is not the same. It is important to educate children on other cultures around the world for them to have a better understanding of diversity and life outside of the United States. The illustrations in this book were very realistic and appealing to the eye. The use of colors really brought out certain aspects of the people and objects drawn in this book. On page 12 of this book, Razia's grandfather, or Baba Gi, says to the family, "It is time to give our daughters and granddaughters in Deh'Subz the chance to read and write." This quote shows the cultural differences between America and Afghanistan. This quote is one of many that can lead to a discussion on cultures around the world and their differences and similarities to America. There are many things that can connect to the classroom in this book. First, I could have my students compare and contrast girls in Afghanistan and America. Another thing that I could do is use the vocabulary words in Dari to explain differences in the Afghan culture. Another connection to the classroom would be to have my students research and think of ways to help children all over the world get an education.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Colleen Smith

    I found Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of Education by Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Suana Verelst on the Middle East Outreach Councils website. This book has earned the Jane Addams Children book Award. This is a book about a girl named Razia. There was a school that was being built in her village. It would be a school for girls. Her brothers went to a boy’s school in the next village over. One night. Razia was sitting with her brother while they worked on homework and she asked for a I found Razia’s Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of Education by Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Suana Verelst on the Middle East Outreach Councils website. This book has earned the Jane Addams Children book Award. This is a book about a girl named Razia. There was a school that was being built in her village. It would be a school for girls. Her brothers went to a boy’s school in the next village over. One night. Razia was sitting with her brother while they worked on homework and she asked for a piece of paper. Her brother asked why she wanted it because she did not have homework to complete. She had said never mind to her brother but she had secretly learned the Dari alphabet and knew how to write her name. Her Baba, gi, held a meeting with the men in the family and suggested the Razia go to school because before all the war happened in Afghanistan women were allowed to be educated. The men in her family ended the conversation by saying that Razia was needed at home. Razia went to the school after her chores and met a lady named Razia Jan. Razia Jan came to the house to talk with Baba Gi and Razia’s parents. She told them that the school would be free and teach the girls many important subjects. Razia’s parents seemed impressed with all that the school had to offer. However the person that needed convincing was Razia’s older brother Aziz. Aziz says that it’s okay for Raiza to go to school after he finds out that there will be a wall around the school to keep the girls safe. The story ends with Razia’s first day at Zabuli Education Center and her saying that she wants to be a teacher. In the back of the book it has a little story about the real Razia Jan and glossary for the Dari words in the book. This story could appeal to students in grades third through sixth. It is also based on a true story of a girl from Deh’ Subz.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Children's Literature Centre at FSU

    This diversity picture book which is based on a true story accurately depicts culture in Afghanistan by telling the story of Razia, a young girl who dreams of an education in a country where it is difficult for females to do so. I found this story very moving, and empowering to young girls. In the classroom, this book would be a great tool to teach students appreciate the value of education, and it allows them to see and understand another culture. I found this quote from the story very powerful This diversity picture book which is based on a true story accurately depicts culture in Afghanistan by telling the story of Razia, a young girl who dreams of an education in a country where it is difficult for females to do so. I found this story very moving, and empowering to young girls. In the classroom, this book would be a great tool to teach students appreciate the value of education, and it allows them to see and understand another culture. I found this quote from the story very powerful, “I ask you for your tolerance, if not support, for Razia’s education. If men are the backbone of Afghanistan, then Women are the eyes of our country. Without an education we will all be blind.” There is also a foundation found at www.raziasrayofhope.org that lets individuals know of different ways to help and donate to the foundation, and has information about Afghanistan, and gives you the opportunity to sponsor a girl in Afghanistan so that she can have an education. The writing in this book is high quality. The author is very descriptive in the setting and details. Razia describes the school in such great detail, readers could imagine it themselves. For example when Razia is describing the new school…”At the beginning of March, the construction crew covered the bricks with white stucco that made the new school shine in the sunlight. They painted the door red, as bright as the flames of the tandoor.” Suneby also does an excellent job at incorporating words into the text that are known in Afghanistan, but readers from other countries may not be familiar. By doing this, readers are more inclined to look up these words or items, and learn more about a different culture. Also, in the back of the book are some translations of Dari words that arise in the story; this is a very helpful educational tool. Review by Hannah McVey

  15. 5 out of 5

    Scout Collins

    Was trying to find good books on education for kids when I found this one. Razia's Ray of Hope tells the story of Razia, a young girl in Afghanistan who wants to go to school - and there is an opportunity because there is a new school for girls being built. The story follows Razia as she faces challenges of not being able to attend school and takes her education into her own hands. This story ties in cultural references to Afghanistan (unfortunately some of which might make the story harder for yo Was trying to find good books on education for kids when I found this one. Razia's Ray of Hope tells the story of Razia, a young girl in Afghanistan who wants to go to school - and there is an opportunity because there is a new school for girls being built. The story follows Razia as she faces challenges of not being able to attend school and takes her education into her own hands. This story ties in cultural references to Afghanistan (unfortunately some of which might make the story harder for younger kids to understand). One thing I did not love about this book was the illustrations; the cover looks depressing and unappealing, which made me remove 0.5 - 1 stars. The art style is unique but there was something I didn't like about it. I appreciated the two pages at the back, where the author explains the book was based on a true story, gives discussion questions and activities and ideas on how to use the knowledge you gained from reading the book. Overall it was a good story, with a good message, and it can reach kids - older kids. I would say 7 or 8 year olds would be the youngest I would read this book to. I was hoping to find a book suitable for younger kids too, so I will have to keep looking. I am using kids' books on education for a project, and this one met the criteria I was looking for so it will be one of the books I use! Would recommend to... Kids who want to learn about the world, other countries, and education Parents/teachers/adults who are looking for a good book to teach kids about why education (especially for girls) is so important

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tatiana

    Pair with Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan and For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story. As a modern, American educator, 69+ million school-age children worldwide without access or denied access to an education is unfathomable. Yet it is the reality for many in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia; it is the reality for millions for girls like Razia, the endearing protagonist of this picture book, a young girl living in Afghanistan who yearns for instruction in read Pair with Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan and For the Right to Learn: Malala Yousafzai's Story. As a modern, American educator, 69+ million school-age children worldwide without access or denied access to an education is unfathomable. Yet it is the reality for many in sub-Saharan Africa and Southern Asia; it is the reality for millions for girls like Razia, the endearing protagonist of this picture book, a young girl living in Afghanistan who yearns for instruction in reading and writing at the new girls' school opening in her village. Razia must beg her elders to attend school because her illiterate brothers were raised under occupation and don't see the need for girls to be educated. That Razia must still promise to do chores before and after school as a "condition" for her right to school is truly foreign. Most of the kids I teach don't want to be at school and don't lift a finger at home, either. Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education is based on the real Razia Jan, who founded a girls' school in Afghanistan. Girls' education is an issue close to my heart, and so I appreciate the lesson plan ideas included at the end of this book. I am always looking for ways to illustrate to my students the opportunities they have, as well as open their eyes to how they can reach out and become citizens of the world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Billie Crane

    Set in Afghanistan, Razia dreams of an education and learning to read and write like her brothers but is not allowed because she is girl. Then she learns that a school for girls is being built no far from her home. She asks her grandfather if he will talk to her father about letting her go to the school. She anxiously watches the construction in hopes that she will soon be able to attend. Until one night she overhears her father, oldest brother, and uncles discussing how important it is for wome Set in Afghanistan, Razia dreams of an education and learning to read and write like her brothers but is not allowed because she is girl. Then she learns that a school for girls is being built no far from her home. She asks her grandfather if he will talk to her father about letting her go to the school. She anxiously watches the construction in hopes that she will soon be able to attend. Until one night she overhears her father, oldest brother, and uncles discussing how important it is for women to be at home to help around the house and in the fields and not in schools. Razia is determined to go to school and even goes to registration to ask one of the teachers to help convince her family. Her teacher is successful at convincing her father by sharing with him all that the school will teach the girls and that's free! The last few pages share with the reader that this story is based on a true story of a woman who was passionate about bringing opportunities to women and girls in Afghanistan. She actually left the US in 2008 to open the Zabuli Education Center for Girls in Kabul. This book also has a page of classroom activities to accompany the text. I really enjoyed this story and the message it sends about the importance of education and that there are many young people in the world who do not have access to education. The illustrations were also very unique in that the faces of the characters were drawn in pencil while the rest of the illustration was mixed media. It was a lovely book!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Laura Anderson

    Young Razia dreams of going to school one day, but in her small village in Kabuhl, Afghanistan, girls have not been allowed to go to school since the days of September 11th. So young Razia spends day and night listening and eavesdropping on her brothers to get what little education she can, hoping to learn something. One day a school for girls opens in her village (founded by Razia Jan, who grew up in Afghanistan and CNN's 2012 Honoree for her work in Kahbul). Excited and nervous, young Razia is Young Razia dreams of going to school one day, but in her small village in Kabuhl, Afghanistan, girls have not been allowed to go to school since the days of September 11th. So young Razia spends day and night listening and eavesdropping on her brothers to get what little education she can, hoping to learn something. One day a school for girls opens in her village (founded by Razia Jan, who grew up in Afghanistan and CNN's 2012 Honoree for her work in Kahbul). Excited and nervous, young Razia is determined to go to this school made for girls just like her. Filled with cultural elements, like the Dori language, this memoir would be the perfect tool for any cultural-awareness discussion. Whether piloting open dialogues about social justice, evaluating different cultures around the world, or analyzing the cause and effect of 9-11, this story will always receive five stars in my book. Be prepared. This story is a tear-jerker but a good one. Reading this narrative made me thankful - one, for education; and two, that there are people out there advocating for young girls like Razia. Thank you Elizabeth Suneby for recording this story and making it available for students everywhere, and thank you Razia Jan for giving up the comforts of the American lifestyle to serve these young deserving children. This books is part of a brand of books called CitizenKids books, which are specifically chosen for their global justice messages.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Trish

    Razia dreams of going to school like her two of her brothers, so when she learns that a girls' school is being built nearby, she is filled with hope. Her oldest brother doesn't think she needs to be educated until he becomes ill, needs medicine and can't read the directions. When Razia figures them out, he agrees to allow her to attend school. Although probably not a book most children will pick up on their own, it is beautiful and gives a glimpse into a world few Americans are familiar with. Its Razia dreams of going to school like her two of her brothers, so when she learns that a girls' school is being built nearby, she is filled with hope. Her oldest brother doesn't think she needs to be educated until he becomes ill, needs medicine and can't read the directions. When Razia figures them out, he agrees to allow her to attend school. Although probably not a book most children will pick up on their own, it is beautiful and gives a glimpse into a world few Americans are familiar with. Its message is to promote education for girls in Afghanistan and there is a note at the back about the real teacher/organizer in the book, Razia Jan and the background on the location. The text is lengthy for a picture book and would be best suited for school-age children. The mixed-media illustrations use collage for the backgrounds and clothing and then line drawings for the faces so emotions are clearly and beaurifully rendered. This could also be included in a class/program on collage or mixed-media art.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Dillan Dilling

    Razia's Ray of Hope is a book dedication to education. There is a new school being built for girls and Razia is determined to learn to read and write. Although her family was against her education she was able to persuade them with her persistent ability. The illustrations in this book provide a colorful collage. Some of the items on each page even have a three dimensional aspect to them. The author portrays a young girl and her determination to go to school very effectively. The author also doe Razia's Ray of Hope is a book dedication to education. There is a new school being built for girls and Razia is determined to learn to read and write. Although her family was against her education she was able to persuade them with her persistent ability. The illustrations in this book provide a colorful collage. Some of the items on each page even have a three dimensional aspect to them. The author portrays a young girl and her determination to go to school very effectively. The author also does a great job at not criticizing or offending anybody in this book such as Razia's family members against her education. This book will teach children the importance of education. It was also let them reflect on their own lives and how it would be if some of their family members were not educated and couldn't read or write. Not having an education would be like living in a parallel universe for us who have come accustomed to learning. Children will also learn to become more appreciative of the lives they have and the opportunities this country offers them.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Based on the a school for girls in Afghanistan, this title shows that tenacity and dreams can overcome many obstacles. Razia longs to attend school just like her brothers but girls aren't allowed to get an education due to Taliban regulations. She has taught herself to read and wants the opportunity to better herself through classroom learning. The collage illustrations include muted colors for everyone other than Razia, whose orange coat and turquoise scarf drawn attention to her on each two-pa Based on the a school for girls in Afghanistan, this title shows that tenacity and dreams can overcome many obstacles. Razia longs to attend school just like her brothers but girls aren't allowed to get an education due to Taliban regulations. She has taught herself to read and wants the opportunity to better herself through classroom learning. The collage illustrations include muted colors for everyone other than Razia, whose orange coat and turquoise scarf drawn attention to her on each two-page spread. A wonderful story of perseverance and triumph. Background information about the disparity in formal education around the world, a brief biography on the real Razia Jan, whom the story's protangonist is fashioned after, a glossary of Dari words, and classroom activities to accompany the story are included. A great lead-in story to discussions about education, sexual equality, and comparisons of lifestyles from one culture to another.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Roger Clarke

    This was a good read that showcases the struggles that girls around the world face, specifically in countries that have traditional patriarchal societal structures. The illustrations fit very well with the setting and theme to really give the reader a sense that they are seeing things through the eyes of the main character. Razia, our protagonist, dreams only of going to school and getting a education. She watches her brothers go to school and know that there was once a time before the Taliban w This was a good read that showcases the struggles that girls around the world face, specifically in countries that have traditional patriarchal societal structures. The illustrations fit very well with the setting and theme to really give the reader a sense that they are seeing things through the eyes of the main character. Razia, our protagonist, dreams only of going to school and getting a education. She watches her brothers go to school and know that there was once a time before the Taliban where she could have gone to school as well. The story shows her pushing against what is now accepted as the norm in Afghanistan and how little freedoms women and girls are offered in their current society. I would recommend this for students in Western society to read as it will give them knowledge of other parts of the world where society is greatly different from ours and it also opens up discussion about social justice on a global scale with what are basic human rights for all.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Holly Mueller

    This is a book based on a true story. Razia represents the experiences of girls in Afghanistan who are prevented from going to school by the Taliban. The real Razia was born in Afghanistan and moved to the U.S. as a young woman. In 2007, she founded Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation, hoping to provide Afghanistan girls opportunities through education. She was honored by CNN as one of their Top 10 Heroes of 2012. Our class just read about Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Ta This is a book based on a true story. Razia represents the experiences of girls in Afghanistan who are prevented from going to school by the Taliban. The real Razia was born in Afghanistan and moved to the U.S. as a young woman. In 2007, she founded Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation, hoping to provide Afghanistan girls opportunities through education. She was honored by CNN as one of their Top 10 Heroes of 2012. Our class just read about Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani teenager who was shot by the Taliban last year for advocating girls' rights to go to school, in Scope Magazine. She will be interviewed by Diane Sawyer this week on 20/20 because more threats have risen against her since being named a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. This book will be a good addition to our unit on crusaders/heroes who stand up for what is right.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    This book is on the USBBY's 2014 Outstanding International Book list. It is a beautiful book with mixed media collages which combine photos, fabric, torn paper, drawings, stamps, etc. It is the story of a girl from Afghanistan, who with the help of her grandfather (Baba gi), convinces her father, mother and brothers that she should attend a newly built school for girls in her village. A glossary and classroom activities are included in the back of the book. It is part of the series of books call This book is on the USBBY's 2014 Outstanding International Book list. It is a beautiful book with mixed media collages which combine photos, fabric, torn paper, drawings, stamps, etc. It is the story of a girl from Afghanistan, who with the help of her grandfather (Baba gi), convinces her father, mother and brothers that she should attend a newly built school for girls in her village. A glossary and classroom activities are included in the back of the book. It is part of the series of books called Citizen Kid to inform children about the world and inspire them to be better global citizens. http://www.raziasrayofhope.org/ This is a great resource to go with the book and has a gallery of photos and curriculum.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education by Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Suana Verelst Citizen Kid (Kids Can Press), 2013 Multicultural Literature/Realistic Fiction 32 pages Recommended for grades 3-5 A story of a young Afghanistan girl desperately wanting the chance at an education of her own. This isn't the first story I've read this year about a child's dream of an education, but this one is nice for younger readers, while retaining the option of stretching upwards into older grad Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education by Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Suana Verelst Citizen Kid (Kids Can Press), 2013 Multicultural Literature/Realistic Fiction 32 pages Recommended for grades 3-5 A story of a young Afghanistan girl desperately wanting the chance at an education of her own. This isn't the first story I've read this year about a child's dream of an education, but this one is nice for younger readers, while retaining the option of stretching upwards into older grade levels. The illustrations are lovely, part photograph collage and part drawing. Included in this text are some excellent teaching resources and activities.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Based on the stories of many girls around the world, this one highlights a young girl from Afghanistan whose village is building a school for girls. She already knows how to read a little because she listens to two of her brothers when they do homework. But it’s time for registration and the family has a meeting to discuss whether she might attend. There are some objections, but the final say is a “no” from her older brother. In a brief, and telling moment, he finally relents. I don’t want to gi Based on the stories of many girls around the world, this one highlights a young girl from Afghanistan whose village is building a school for girls. She already knows how to read a little because she listens to two of her brothers when they do homework. But it’s time for registration and the family has a meeting to discuss whether she might attend. There are some objections, but the final say is a “no” from her older brother. In a brief, and telling moment, he finally relents. I don’t want to give away the reason, but it has to do with reading! The pictures highlight the young girl, showing the background of different situations.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Heidi Pepin

    My 7 year old daughter and I read this at bedtime tonight and it really put things into a different perspective for each of us - how lucky and privileged we are to live in a place where education is free and available to all and in a culture where women are (mostly) thought to be equals. The story provoked a lot of discussion about equality, geography, and how things have changed over time as it relates to women in education. Coming back from winter holiday and hearing her complain about having t My 7 year old daughter and I read this at bedtime tonight and it really put things into a different perspective for each of us - how lucky and privileged we are to live in a place where education is free and available to all and in a culture where women are (mostly) thought to be equals. The story provoked a lot of discussion about equality, geography, and how things have changed over time as it relates to women in education. Coming back from winter holiday and hearing her complain about having to get up early and go to school, I think this book added a little perspective. I would recommend this book to others, particularly those around the age of 6-8.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nick Turner

    Collage art technique with swatches of material. Clippings of photographs and lifelike drawings of figures - Razia and her relatives. Drawings of pale figures in black-and-white pencil with a little pink blush for cheeks. There is a glossary of Dari words at the end. There are fun exercises for schoolgirls to think about the experience of girls in Afghanistan at the end. This is a CitizenKid(Tm) book. I'm not sure that promoting single-sex junior schools makes children better "global citizens". Collage art technique with swatches of material. Clippings of photographs and lifelike drawings of figures - Razia and her relatives. Drawings of pale figures in black-and-white pencil with a little pink blush for cheeks. There is a glossary of Dari words at the end. There are fun exercises for schoolgirls to think about the experience of girls in Afghanistan at the end. This is a CitizenKid(Tm) book. I'm not sure that promoting single-sex junior schools makes children better "global citizens".

  29. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    The illustrations for this book are just perfect, evoking the faces of real people and bringing home the message that Razia is a representative of so many real girls in real villages all across Afghanistan. The text is a little ploddy and pedantic, which sometimes happens when the author has an informational mission rather than a literary one. That's okay, though. I am still glad to have read it and think it would make a great read-together for an upper elementary class learning about conditions The illustrations for this book are just perfect, evoking the faces of real people and bringing home the message that Razia is a representative of so many real girls in real villages all across Afghanistan. The text is a little ploddy and pedantic, which sometimes happens when the author has an informational mission rather than a literary one. That's okay, though. I am still glad to have read it and think it would make a great read-together for an upper elementary class learning about conditions for kids around the world.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I greatly enjoyed reading this book to my 9 year old. She asked many questions as the story progressed - important as she has no context to understand why the girl could not go to school or why her mother could not take a greater role in the decision. For this reason I recommend it as a book to facilitate discussion with the child audience rather than for a child to read alone. The ideas for follow-up exercises were fantastic. I am going to donate this book to my daughter's school so that it may I greatly enjoyed reading this book to my 9 year old. She asked many questions as the story progressed - important as she has no context to understand why the girl could not go to school or why her mother could not take a greater role in the decision. For this reason I recommend it as a book to facilitate discussion with the child audience rather than for a child to read alone. The ideas for follow-up exercises were fantastic. I am going to donate this book to my daughter's school so that it may be shared.

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