“Letters from Afganistan” is a YA book bursting with social consience, a Call to Action and most of all, a giant heart. Written as the first English story constructed by a native Italian speaking author, the book is intended to inspire, educate, and reach deep into the heart of readers everywhere, reminding us that we are all connected, each of us one link in a global daisy chain that may just be strong enough to hold its flower.
Olivia Lewis, fourteen years old, an awkward, somewhat nerdy, and lonely teen, is given a school assignment to write to a cohort based in Afghanistan. As Olivia, through her letters, comes to know and love her new friend, Basya, it’s impossible for her to ignore what she learns about the harrowing conditions and the immense brutality of female disempowerment faced by Basya and her counterparts in this corner of the world, formerly unknown to her.
Education, Olivia learns, and the profound influence it can have on identity, visualization, self-actualization and the life-altering opportunities made possible, is an option not freely available (and in fact, violently sabotaged by culture and law) to women and girls around the world.
Olivia, who is after all, just your average American teen, is a relatable and authentic character – her life, her reactions, emotions, and how she chooses to act, redolent to each of us – bringing home the authors message that every one of us is truly capable of making a difference, with awareness and compassion the essential first step.
I loved this powerful story, loved the intent and spirit behind it, and cannot help but hope the authors message finds a home in every reader.
A great big thank you to the author for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.