Obayda's father has been injured and their family has had to leave Kabul to be closer to his brothers. With a family of four daughters, there is no one to work and help the family. Following a tradition in which a daughter is dressed and treated as a boy, to bring luck to the family, Obayda's aunt suggests that Obayda become Obayd, a bacha pash.
Her new outward gender opens opportunities, but it also creates a divide between her and her sisters. It also raises lots of questions. What does it mean to one day have your family tell you you are a boy? What happens when they decide to change you back? Obayda is pre-pubescent and One Half from the East addresses gender only, not sexuality or attraction. It is a fascinating story that will create lots of conversations about gender roles and expectations. It will also inspire readers of all ages and genders to ask questions, take adventures, and visit waterfalls.
~ Eight Cousins— From Holiday Picks 2016
Perfect for fans of Rita Williams-Garcia, Thanhha Lai, and Rebecca Stead, internationally bestselling author Nadia Hashimi’s first novel for young readers is a coming-of-age journey set in modern-day Afghanistan that explores life as a bacha posh—a preteen girl dressed as a boy.
Obayda’s family is in need of some good fortune, and her aunt has an idea to bring the family luck—dress Obayda, the youngest of four sisters, as a boy, a bacha posh.
Life in this in-between place is confusing, but once Obayda meets another bacha posh, everything changes. Their transformation won’t last forever, though—unless the two best friends can figure out a way to make it stick and make their newfound freedoms endure.
Nadia Hashimi’s first novel for adults, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, was a bestseller that shares a bacha posh character with One Half from the East.
“Like its young protagonist, One Half from the East dances between hope and hard realities. Obayda’s struggle to define herself in a world that is all too eager to do the job for her is captivating.”
“Told in clear, vivid prose that combines detailed descriptions of daily life with a good dose of adventure, this story... This is an excellent title that will offer students a window into life in Afghanistan and open interesting, age-appropriate conversations about gender expectations and roles in different countries.”
“By focusing on gender inequality as seen through the lens of a traditional society, Hashimi lets readers see themselves in Obayda’s emotions, even as the outcomes remain true to the Afghan culture Hashimi portrays so fluently.”
“The first-person point of view in this novel will be impactful and meaningful to readers. Hashimi’s Obayda will provide readers with insightful information about Islamic culture, and particularly the Afghani culture, as it relates to girls.”
“With beautiful language, rich characters, and a perspective not often seen in children’s literature, this heartbreaking story will leave a lasting mark.”