The Dressmaker of Khair Khana


Don’t run away if you don’t like sewing. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana is not just about a seamstress. And don’t be afraid if you can’t pronounce the title. I can’t either. I loved this book.

Gayle Lemmon tells the true story of Kamila Sidiqi, a young woman from Kabul (in Afghanistan), who refuses to just sit inside her house and watch the Taliban take control of her city. Instead, she starts a business that not only supports her family, but empowers other women to support their families. Although Kamila knows the danger of what she is doing, she does it anyway. After starting the business, she had an idea of starting a school. So, she did. The next week.

I find her story inspiring. I am a dreamer, a thinker, and sometimes I don’t take the steps to follow-through. Kamila followed through.

Here’s an article for more information: How Fashion Saved My Family From the Taliban



I found Sold when I was searching soldfor books about human trafficking. I put off reading it because it is fiction, and I wanted to read more personal accounts. I discovered, however, that Patricia McMormick researched extensively before writing.  I am glad that I did take the time to read it. And really, it didn’t take that much time; it is a quick (though heavy) read.

As I read Sold, I kept reminding myself This is fiction and that didn’t really happen to Lakshima. But the more I thought about it, I realized that although the details are made-up, the overall story is repeated around the world more often than I would wish.

Lakshima, a 13-year-old girl, lives with her family in the mountains of Nepal. After a series of difficulties, she is sold from person to person, eventually winding up in a brothel in India. McMormick tells Lakshima’s story as a series of vignettes. I love her style. She also handles the topic and events sensitively, but I would still only recommend the book to mature readers. My local library places Sold in the young adult section.

Check out my posts on these related books: I am Nujood, Age 10, and Divorced and The Slave Across the Street.

I’d like to read Forgotten Girls and Slave at some point. (And Patricia McCormick’s other books). I think I will always have a large list of books to read.

But really, its not so much about what I’m reading, or what I want to read. What am I doing with what I know? How am I growing in active compassion?

More things = more happiness?

you are not your stuff
Ian Koh / Foter / CC BY-NC

I don’t know what it is, but every year around this time, I get really into organizing and de-cluttering. I think that this year it may be even worse because of all I’ve been learning about poverty and oppression in the world around me.

Here is one of my favorite children’s books that celebrates simplicity and the joy of giving:


The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau and Gail de Marcken. I haven’t read it to David because I don’t want him to rip the pages.

Here’s the synopsis main part of the story without the ending:

A woman makes beautiful quilts to give to the poor and needy. A unhappy king who already has everything wants a quilt. But the quiltmaker will only give him one if he makes presents of everything he owns.


I will leave you to guess what happens, or read it to find out.

Things I love about the book:

  • Beautiful, detailed illustrations
  • Message that happiness does not come from what we have

Something I would change:

  • Illustrations just feature people with pale skin

Appropriate for:

  • Adults who like reading picture books (people like me)
  • Elementary age children for read-aloud/independent reading (you know your child’s abilities better than me)

A 10-year-old Divorcee

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui

I discovered this book when I was searching for books on human trafficking on Amazon. Fortunately, our local library had a copy so I could check it out. I am Nujood

Nujood Ali, a 10-year-old girl from Yemen, tells her story of being married, abused, and divorced, all before the age most American girls have a boyfriend. Apparently it is common in some areas of Yemen for very young girls to be given in marriage, with the understanding that the husband will wait for sexual relations until the girl reaches puberty. Nujood’s husband did not wait.  He also abused her physically and verbally.

I wish I could say that Nujood’s life got immediately easier and better after her divorce, and maybe today she is doing well.This CNN article shares more, but even that was written in 2009. I pray that Nujood would continue to be a courageous woman who inspires many.

What I learned or gained from this book:

  • a window into life in rural Yemen
  • a sense of compassion for families like Nujood’s, who find themselves in very difficult circumstances with difficult choices
  • a reminder of the incredible gift that my childhood and education was AND how precious my husband is
  • a desire to look into ways to help others. . . especially women. This ties into what I’ve been learning about Hope International and their small business loans. How can I really help people around the world, instead of just giving easy hand-outs?


Unplugging my ears

I’m currently listening to Theresa Flores’ The Slave Across the Street

slaveacrossthestreetWhen I think of human trafficking, I think of children and women in other countries. Theresa tells her story of sexual slavery in the U.S. This is hard listening. I wanted to plug my ears and believe that such evil doesn’t exist in my country. Or in any country, for that matter. But it does.

You can watch Theresa’s story here:

I encourage you to listen, watch, read, and learn more about human trafficking. Here is Theresa’s site, a good place to start