In My Hands Today…

The Night Diary – Veera Hiranandani

It’s 1947, and India, newly independent of British rule, has been separated into two countries: Pakistan and India. The divide has created much tension between Hindus and Muslims, and hundreds of thousands are killed crossing borders.

Half-Muslim, half-Hindu twelve-year-old Nisha doesn’t know where she belongs, or what her country is anymore. When Papa decides it’s too dangerous to stay in what is now Pakistan, Nisha and her family become refugees and embark first by train but later on foot to reach her new home. The journey is long, difficult, and dangerous, and after losing her mother as a baby, Nisha can’t imagine losing her homeland, too. But even if her country has been ripped apart, Nisha still believes in the possibility of putting herself back together.

In My Hands Today…

Amal Unbound – Aisha Saeed

Life is quiet and ordinary in Amal’s Pakistani village, but she had no complaints, and besides, she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day.

Her dreams are temporarily dashed when–as the eldest daughter–she must stay home from school to take care of her siblings. Amal is upset, but she doesn’t lose hope and finds ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens–after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.

Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal–especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.

In My Hands Today…

City of Spies – Sorayya Khan

Eleven-year-old Aliya Shah lives a double life in Islamabad, Pakistan – at home with her Pakistani father and Dutch mother, and at the American School, where Aliya tries to downplay that she is a “half-and-half.”

But when a hit-and-run driver kills the son of the family’s servant, Sadiq, who is also Aliya’s dear friend, her world is turned upside down.

After she discovers the truth behind the tragedy – a terrible secret that burdens her heart – her conflicted loyalties are tested as never before.

In My Hands Today…

The End Of Innocence – Moni Mohsin

Western Pakistan, the winter of 1971, and 9 year old Laila has a secret.

Ignored by the adults around her yet desperate to know their world, Laila takes comfort in being the confidant of teenager Rani – privy to details of the older girl’s forbidden love affair.

But when that affair bears unwelcome fruit, a floundering Rani leans on Laila for solace and support. Yet Laila – still a child – neither comprehends the danger nor is able to help; and thus unwittingly leads Rani towards catastrophe …

In My Hands Today…

Songs of Blood and Sword: A Daughter’s Memoir – Fatima Bhutto

In September 1996, fourteen-year-old Fatima Bhutto hid in a windowless dressing room, shielding her baby brother, while shots rang out in the dark outside the family home in Karachi.

This was the night her father Murtaza was murdered. It was the latest in a long line of tragedies for one of the world’s best-known political dynasties.

Songs of Blood and Sword tells the story of a family of feudal landlords who became powerbrokers. It is an epic tale of intrigue, the making of modern Pakistan, and ultimately, tragedy. A searing testament to a troubled land, Songs of Blood and Sword reveals a daughter’s love for her father and her search to uncover the truth of his life and death.

In My Hands Today…

Stones Into Schools: Promoting Peace With Books, Not Bombs, in Afghanistan and Pakistan – Greg Mortenson, translated by Rika Iffati Farihah

In this dramatic first-person narrative, Greg Mortenson picks up where Three Cups of Tea left off in 2003, recounting his relentless, ongoing efforts to establish schools for girls in Afghanistan; his extensive work in Azad Kashmir and Pakistan after a massive earthquake hit the region in 2005; and the unique ways he has built relationships with Islamic clerics, militia commanders, and tribal leaders. He shares for the first time his broader vision to promote peace through education and literacy, as well as touching on military matters, Islam, and women-all woven together with the many rich personal stories of the people who have been involved in this remarkable two-decade humanitarian effort.

Since the 2006 publication of Three Cups of Tea, Mortenson has traveled across the U.S. and the world to share his vision with hundreds of thousands of people. He has met with heads of state, top military officials, and leading politicians who all seek his advice and insight. The continued phenomenal success of Three Cups of Tea proves that there is an eager and committed audience for Mortenson’s work and message.

In My Hands Today…

Ayesha At Last – Uzma Jalaluddin

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage.

Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

When a surprise engagement between Khalid and Hafsa is announced, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and his family; and the truth she realizes about herself. But Khalid is also wrestling with what he believes and what he wants. And he just can’t get this beautiful, outspoken woman out of his mind.