Words in the Dust

Spotlight by Sophia Martin

By Trent Reedy

247 pages

Zulaikha made wishes, and she got the wishes that she wanted unexpectedly. But then things changed up for Zulaikha and her family.


A girl named Zulaikha and her sister live with their father, step mother, and 2 step brothers in An Daral, Afghanistan. Zulaikha is 12 years old and her sister is 15. Their life changed when the American soldiers came to their city. Zulaikha wasn't a normal child, she had a cleft lip or donkey face as her unfriendly neighbor calls her, so she wears a piece of cloth to cover her mouth. As Zulaikha was asked to meet the American soldiers her step mother started to worry, but the only thing the soldiers wanted to do was a surgery to her mouth and fix it up. Zeynab, Zulaikha's sister life also changed. She got married to a 45 year old man that has three other wives, which caused her to leave her family. And as Zulaikha's journey keeps getting stranger and stranger; she meets an old friend of her mother's who had past away named Meena. Meena started to teach Zulaikha how to write and read in there language. Also the Americans are also making bigger and better schools so girls Zulaikha's age can go to school with the boys.

The Theme

The theme of the story is that you should not wish for things that you haven't thought about enough, because they can cause unfortunate consequences.


To connect to the theme, I wish sometimes for stuff that I don't think about or I do think about. Well something that I thought about was getting a Wii from my parents, and surprisingly my siblings and I got one for Christmas, because I thought it was a bit expensive. But you can also wish for the silly and foolish wishes. Like if anyone has a little brother that annoys you every day, you and I will foolishly wish that they never existed. Now that you think about it you really didn't mean it, and just think about it, maybe in the future there might a high tech device that grants every wish that you make and that wouldn't be nice after you lose your brother. Also you might as well get in trouble by your parents if you say that out loud. So there could be goods but most likely very foolish mistakes.