Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. She is determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name–Cindy. It is the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces cannot distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep too close to home. You can also check out this title as eBook on Overdrive/Libby.
This middle grade semi-autobiographical novel, It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas takes place in 1978. It is always sunny in Newport Beach, California. Canopy beds, beanbag chairs, shag rugs, and puka shell necklaces are all the rage. Zomorod Yousefzadeh has moved to Newport Beach with her parents. A native of Iran, Zomorod only wants to fit in with her new American classmates, and make some close friends. A trip to Sears with her father provides her with the coveted canopy bed. Changing her first name to Cindy is a second step to fitting in. Finding a circle of friends who appreciate her, lead to fun times at the swimming pool, trick or treating on Halloween and going to Girl Scout Camp. When the Iranian Revolution occurs and American hostages are taken, Cindy and her father must answer questions posed by teachers, friends, and neighbors. On her 13th birthday, her friend Carolyn gives Cindy a small gift wrapped box. Inside, a puka shell necklace.