On June 12, 2005, hundreds of women gathered outside Tehran University in Tehran, Iran. These women were protesting an issue that Iranian women have battled for more than one hundred years: gender inequality. Living in a conservative Muslim culture, Iranian women are subjected to discriminatory laws that serve the male-dominated society. In the 1900s, Iranian women began protesting unjust laws and fighting for equality. For a time, under monarchs wishing to modernize, Iran became more lenient. Women began dressing as they wished, mixing socially with men, and working outside their homes. But after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, harsh punishments for moral offenses again became law. Iranian women continue to struggle against an oppressive regime, but they refuse to stop protesting. Iranian women have been punished and discriminated against by their patriarchal government, but yet they maintain their pursuit of equal rights.
The phrase “asylum seeker” is one heard in the media all the time. It stimulates fierce and controversial debate, in arguments about migration, race, and religion. The movement of people from poor or struggling countries to those where there may be opportunities for a better life is a constant in human history, but it is something with particular relevance in this time of wide-scale political and social upheaval. Featuring stories from youth based in trouble spots around the world — including Kosovo, Ethiopia, Vietnam, Eritrea, Zaire, Sudan, Somalia, Iraq, Zimbabwe, and Kurdistan — this collection of stories spotlights people who have been forced to leave their homes or families to seek help and shelter elsewhere. This book has no political axe to grind, simply recording the truth of these children’s stories without assigning blame. Some are about young people traveling to other countries; others are concerned with young ones left behind when parents are forced to flee. These are stories about physical and emotional suffering but also about humanity — of both those who endure unimaginable hardship and those who help them.
Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, this is an engaging portrait of a young girl who strives for more and a family who rewards her hard work and courage.