Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird – Book Review

Book Title: Kiss the Dust

Author: Elizabeth Laird

Genre: Children’s Fiction

Blurb from Goodreads

Tara is an ordinary teenager.

Although her country, Kurdistan, is caught up in a war, the fighting seems far away. It hasn’t really touched her.

Until now.

The secret police are closing in. Tara and her family must flee to the mountains with only the few things they can carry. It is a hard and dangerous journey—but their struggles have only just begun. Will anywhere feel like home again?

My Review

There are some books that stand apart from all the others. 

It’s a lifetime ago since I have read this book.

So long ago that I can’t even recall the plot or any names of the characters. In fact, I have only read the book just the once.

So how can I justify rating it five stars and calling it one of my all time favourite reads?

How can I trust my hazy memory or the literary judgment of a little girl?

Simply because of the impact this book had on me. 

It was not long after The Gulf War when I read this book. I didn’t understand much about war at all. I was much too young. But I remember wanting to understand ‘the why’. Why did people go to war? And where were these countries?

This world so far removed from my evergreen country? Could this all-out war maybe happen close to my home? (This was a long time before the Good Friday Agreement)

I had a lot of questions.

So I remember discovering this book in my library. About a Kurdish family in Iraq. I picked it up because it was the first time I had ever seen a book about characters from that part of the world.

And what was within those pages was a beautiful, heart-wrenching story with a young girl no different to me as the main character and it made these people, who at first to my young and inexperienced eyes had seemed so different to me, come alive and show me that they were just the same as I was.

They just had slightly different traditions and customs.

It taught me a little bit more about political conflict in other parts of the world.

And thankfully, because it is a children’s book, it gave me hope.

Hope that I could somehow help to make things better in my own way as a child by just growing up to be the best version of myself I could be. And by helping to create a more tolerant and understanding society.

We are all the same.

We all share the same dreams. The same hopes and fears. We all deserve the same basic human rights.

Reading has taught me so much over the years. I have travelled to so many different lands, experienced so many different cultures through the pages of the books that I have read.

Reading fiction is one of the best ways of seeing how other peoples live and of gaining understanding about them.

Books like Kiss the Dust are important.

Reading as a child is important.

Reading about cultures different to your own is important. Because it helps you to become a citizen of our great big world… And then you start to realise that our world is not so big after all. That we are all connected. We all share the same hopes and fears; the same desires for home, love and happiness.

We are all unique but yet we are all the same too.

This was the book that started that journey for me. And for that reason it gets five stars

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