A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Everything Sad Is Untrue provides a captivating and accessible introduction to Persian history and myths. There's a lot of discussion about poop and the bathroom habits of different cultures.
Sharing memories and family stories can bring together people who thought they had nothing at all in common.
Positive Role Models
Daniel credits his mother with being the "unstoppable" one in the family, but he shares her determination and resilience. When it looks as if his attempts to fit in with his classmates will never succeed, he decides to win them over in a really courageous way -- standing in front of his classmates and proudly sharing his family's story and his Persian heritage.
Violence & Scariness
There's an extremely graphic and bloody description of a terrified bull being slaughtered. Children watch as their mother is beaten by her husband. A classmate verbally and physically bullies characters (punching them and stabbing them with paperclips). A boy is whipped, and a girl loses part of her finger when a classmate intentionally slams it in a door.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A mention in one myth/legend that a king finds his wife "copulating."
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character smuggles drugs from Iran to England.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Daniel Nayeri's Everything Sad Is Untrue: (A True story) is a "memoir" told through a captivating mix of fiction and nonfiction. It won the 2021 Michael J. Ptintz Award for young adullt literature. Young Khosrou Nayeri's very privileged life in Iran comes to a terrifying end as he, his mother, and his sister flee the country one step ahead of the secret police. Finally settling with his family in Edmond, Oklahoma, Khosrou changes his name to Daniel and struggles to find acceptance from classmates who see him only as a poor refugee who often smells of pickles and garlic. But that perception slowly changes as he becomes a seventh grade Scheherazade, sharing with them tales of Persian kings, khans, and princesses and true (mostly) stories of his life in Iran and in a refugee camp in Italy. Episodes of violence sometimes appear in Daniel's stories and some may be disturbing to readers. There's a very graphic and bloody description of a bull being slaughtered and a scene where a woman is beaten by her husband as her children watch.
Is It Any Good?
This is a poignant and funny story filled with fables and myths that might just be true and truths clouded by memories of what could have been. One thing that sets Everything Sad is Untrue apart is that it's not divided into chapters. While the idea of tackling 368 pages of free flowing narrative may seem overwhelming for many kids, the story does have natural breaks that will allow readers to put down the story and easily pick it up again.
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