Despite all the madness that has been happening in the Middle East and Africa in my lifetime, I don’t pretend to know much about the culture of those who come from these chaotic areas. Thus when I caught sight of The Red Pencil in Barnes & Nobles I was instantly drawn to the premise. This story is about Amira who is a twelve year old girl living in Darfur. Her greatest wish to to learn to read and write, however she lives in a society that believes that women should only dream about becoming wives and mothers. Events take a heart wrenching turn when Amira’s village is attacked by the Janjaweed and they are forced to leave everything behind. It is Amira’s dream that gives her the strength to move beyond the tragedy and hope for a better tomorrow.
This book is written beautifully in prose form and includes unique illustrations. I really enjoyed reading this book and it went by quick. The author’s main goal is to open the eyes of the suffering of those who have experienced war and as a result are left to live in refugee camps with meager supplies. Her tale is one of humanity and gives a face and a name to the hundreds of men, women, and children we see on the news. I am really excited to add this book to my classroom library with the hope that it will help my students open their eyes to the world around them.