It Ain't So Awful, Falafel

by Firoozeh Dumas

Zomorod and her parents are in the United States for her dad’s job as an engineer... read more

Zomorod and her parents are in the United States for her dad’s job as an engineer working at a California oil company. Zomorod, who has chosen the Brady Bunch-inspired name “Cindy” at school, narrates an often funny and always insightful account of her life as an Iranian immigrant in the late 1970s (an era that is vividly and often delightfully realized here). Her father is openhearted and upbeat but her mother has struggled to acclimate to their life in America. Zomorod, like her dad, is happy. Despite often being mistaken as Latina (no one has heard of Iran), she also has good friends. Then the Shah of Iran is overthrown and Ayatollah Khomeini comes into power, followed by the taking of American hostages. The crisis horrifies Zomorod’s family. Meanwhile, everyone in America suddenly has something to say about Iran. Zomorod’s mother finds purpose in helping other Iranians in their community feel less alone, but her dad loses his job and when he can’t find another he begins to lose hope as the family faces returning to their radically changed homeland. Dumas’s “semi-autobiographical” novel doesn’t shy away from the racism Zomorod and her family experience. Her story is buoyed by this honesty, as well as the warmth of family, and the essential kindness of friendship. (Ages 9–13)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2017

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