Words in the Dust - Trent Reedy
How much can you hope without breaking your heart?
Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace in Afghanistan, now that the Taliban have been driven from her country. She hopes for a good relationship with her stepmother. She even hopes that one day she could go to school, or have her cleft lip corrected - inshallah, God willing.
Then she meets Meena, who agrees to teach her to read. And American soldiers come to her village, offering not just new opportunities and dangers, but also surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha - but can she dare to hope they'll come true?