It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel is a charming, authentic and insightful account of an immigrant trying to make sense of America. The book also provides a peek at a moment in history when relations between Iran and the U.S. were severed due to the hostage crisis of 1979.
Delightful young Zomorod Yousefzadeh goes by Cindy, taken from “The Brady Bunch” television show. She is a new arrival to Southern California, where she must figure out the unwritten rules of middle-school conduct while serving as her mother’s interpreter. Her desire to fit in, combined with her kind-hearted embarrassment of her parents, leaves readers rooting for Cindy’s success.
This coming-of-age story takes a dark turn with the backdrop of heightening tensions between the U.S. and Iran. As an Iranian, Cindy is expected to be the expert on this political crisis, and she does her best to help people understand the situation. But she doesn’t fully succeed in her attempts to educate people, and she and her family become victims of a hate crime and racist remarks. While trying to discover the perpetrators of the crime, Cindy realizes she, too, was quick to unfairly judge a classmate.
After her award-winning memoir, Funny in Farsi, Firoozeh Dumas makes a humorous mark with her semi-autobiographical middle-grade debut.