Based on the true story of a girl in Afghanistan who desperately wants an education and convinces the men in her family to allow her to attend school, Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl’s Dream of an Education, written by Elizabeth Suneby with poignant illustrations by Suana Verelst (published September 2013 by Kids Can Press in its CitizenKid series) is designed to engage young readers in global issues.
The story’s protagonist goes to the Zabuli Education Center for girls outside of Kabul, started by Razia Jan. “At a fundraiser for the school, I heard Razia Jan recount story after story of the challenges girls who want an education face,” explains author Elizabeth Suneby. “I knew right then that I needed to share these stories with grown-ups and kids living in developed countries who, understandably, take education for granted.”
Written for children in grades 3-6 (ages 8-12), Razia’s Ray of Hope is aligned with the Common Core State Standards and includes facts about education and some of the reasons why 69 million school-age children around the world are not in school. The book also includes information about the real Razia Jan and the Zabuli Education Center, Dari words, a lesson plan (“A Day in Razia’s Life"), and questions for discussion, making it ideal for school, library, and personal use when discussing the fundamental human right of education for all children. You can also download a PDF of related information and activities for classroom or group use, or download our standards-based curriciula for elementary school and middle school students.
Award-winning author Elizabeth Suneby writes books to help youth find their voice in a hopeful world. She lives outside Boston, MA. Illustrator Suana Verelst is an award-winning children’s book illustrator from Montreal, Quebec.