In “The Milk of Birds” by Sylvia Whitman (363 pgs), K.C. is a young American girl struggling to find her place and to deal with her learning disability. Nawra is a pregnant 14-year-old rape victim who lives in a refugee camp after her home village was attacked. These two girls become part of each other’s lives when K.C.’s mother signs her up for a letter writing exchange called Save the Girls.
Told through a mix of first person narratives and letters, readers see these two very different girls transform each other. Nawra gains confidence and is able to help her mother (and eventually her baby); K.C. finds in Nawra a voice of acceptance and wisdom that inspires her to find a way to help the people of Sudan in real and measurable ways.
As readers watch the two young women grow and learn about themselves and others, we are reminded of the fragility of adolescence, the resilience of the human spirit, the disparities between developed and developing nations, and the ability of a voice to inspire change.
Use this book for discussions about refugees, courage, civil conflict, violence against women, overcoming challenges, and solutionary action.