It's Afghan schoolgirl Aria's first day back at school since her accident. She's excited, but she's also worried about sitting on the hard floor all day with her new prothetic "helper-leg". Just as Aria feared, sitting on the floor is so uncomfortable that she can’t think about learning at all. She knows that before the war changed many things in Afghanistan, schools like hers had benches for students to sit at. If she had a bench, her leg would not hurt so much. The answer is obvious: she will gather materials, talk to Kaka Najar, the carpenter in the old city, and learn to build a bench for herself.
In A Sky-Blue Bench, Bahram Rahman of The School Bus, returns again to the setting of his homeland, Afghanistan, to reveal the resilience and resolve of young children—especially young girls—who face barriers to education. Illustrator Peggy Collins imbues Aria with an infectious spunkiness and grit that make her relatable even to readers with a very different school experience. An author’s note gently introduces an age-appropriate discussion of landmines and their impact on the lives of children in many nations, especially Afghanistan, which has the highest concentration of landmines of any country in the world.
International Day of Peace Sept. 21, Human Rights Day Dec.10, International Day of Education Jan. 24, International Women's Day and United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace March 8, World Refugee Day June 20, Canadian Multiculturalism Day June 27.
Sky-Blue Bench. Text © 2021 Baharam Rahman Illustrations © 2021 Peggy Collins. Reproduced by permission of Pajama Press, Toronto.