Courage: My Story of Persecution

I, Witness

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Pub Date 11 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 31 Dec 2021
W. W. Norton & Company, Norton Young Readers

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Continuing this propulsive middle grade nonfiction series, a young woman once persecuted by the Taliban shares her journey to becoming a community activist.

As a girl and as part of an ethnic minority in Afghanistan, Freshta Tori Jan was persecuted relentlessly. Her family faced kidnappings and daily murder attempts on the bus, on the way to school, in the workplace, and beyond. Freshta’s school was shut down by the Taliban, and many of her friends were murdered and shot. Her journey through poverty, terrorism, and other forms of injustice has enabled her to be a voice for those unable to share their stories and those unable to receive the opportunities she has sought. She believes in empowering youth in order to bring about change and be the leaders of today and tomorrow.

With a voice that is both accessible and engaging, Freshta brings forward a captivating first-person account of strength, resilience, and determination, and delivers compelling narrative nonfiction by young people, for young people.

About the Author: Freshta Tori Jan is a student at Calvin College, the founder of Sew True Products, and serves as a public speaker for marginalized groups.

Continuing this propulsive middle grade nonfiction series, a young woman once persecuted by the Taliban shares her journey to becoming a community activist.

As a girl and as part of an ethnic...

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EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9781324016670
PRICE $16.95 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

I love thinking about the classroom sharing possibilities for Courage: My Story of Persecution. It seems increasingly important to include a wide range of human stories in what young people read, and I feel like this book is an important contribution to that work. It is well-written and opened my eyes to a story that is vital to share. Highly recommended.

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A poignant account of overcoming adversity in Afghanistan to achieve a better life and help others. This inspirational autobiography tells the story of Freshta Tori Jan growing up as a discriminated ethnic minority who is forced to flee her country due to civil unrest and violence toward her, her family, and other Hazara. There are accounts of violence towards women and minority groups that could disturb younger readers. The author faces many challenges and perseveres making it out of her adverse conditions to continue her education and help bring her message and share the plight of the Hazara to the world. Further details and a rough timeline of the author's life are included at the end. Ideas for how young readers can make a difference like Ms Freshta Tori Jan are also available. Recent events must be heartbreaking for the writer to witness--more so than the average American watching the news. I only hope that her efforts help bring justice and peace to areas experiencing violence and oppression.

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I, Witness is a new children’s nonfiction series that shares personal narratives. “One of the best ways to understand a complicated moment in history is by reading the story of a person who lived through it.” Freshta Tori Jan is a survivor of poverty, terrorism, and persecution by the Taliban. Hazaras are an ethnic group of Afghanistan. They were the largest ethnic group, and now they comprise less than 9% of the population. This is a very short book, perfect for middle grade readers, but is one that will stick with me. Prior to reading this book, I had never heard of Afghanistan’s Hazara population and the genocide at the hands of the Taliban. Freshta’s experiences are heartbreaking and I’m thankful she is able to share her story and shed light on these injustices. CW: terrorism, violence, racism, racial slurs, xenophobia, poverty, assault, animal abuse

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