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Martine’s Must-Reads for June 2021

1- Afghans Never Smile: Reflections of a DSS Agent from Both Sides of the Durand Line By Stephen Silva

A personal memoir about my experiences as a Diplomatic Security Service Agent in Peshawar, Pakistan and Bagram, Afghanistan. It includes a comprehensive history of some of the most dangerous times during the War on Terror. Readers will learn much that they were previously unaware of in regard to the persistent threats from the Taliban and their unpredictable actions across Pakistan and Afghanistan. The book highlights not only the daily aspects of war and terrorism that many Americans were removed from but also the courage and bravery of those who served on both sides of the Durand Line.

Recommended by AAFSW President Lara Center


2- Nia Bluu & The Great Awakening (Nia Bluu & The Inami Academy of Witchcraft & Spirituality) by Moe Nicole

Meet Nikki, a 31-year old woman who’s life seemed to be going perfectly until she began having vivid dreams at night. The closer it got to her 32nd birthday, the more everything seemed to be turned upside down until she learned it was because she was born with supernatural powers. 

From her match made in heaven relationship to the death of someone who was most important to her, Nikki goes through a year of trials and tribulations as she comes to terms with her family history and her personal connection to the magical world. She is the Nia, chosen to break the generational curses in her family, that they have been plagued with since the onset of slavery. 

3- Read This For Inspiration: Simple Sparks To Ignite Your Life (CLARKSON POTTER) by ASHLEY PEREZ

Take a break from mindless phone scrolling and empower yourself to live intentionally and find meaning all around you every single day. Read This for Inspiration, filled with short bursts of encouragement and enlightenment, is your staring place. Look inward and also way beyond your arm’s length—these entries are inspiring not only for the wisdom they impart but also for the way they lift you up. 

Recommended by one of AAFSW’s volunteers, Carol Sparhawk

4- House Arrest (Young Adult Fiction, Books for Teens) By K.A. Holt

Timothy is a good kid who did a bad thing. Now he’s under house arrest for a whole year. He has to check in weekly with a probation officer and a therapist, keep a journal, and stay out of trouble. But when he must take drastic measures to help his struggling family, staying out of trouble proves more difficult than Timothy ever thought it would be. 

Great book for teens!

5- Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home By Richard Bell 

Philadelphia, 1825: five young, free black boys fall into the clutches of the most fearsome gang of kidnappers and slavers in the United States. Lured onto a small ship with the promise of food and pay, they are instead met with blindfolds, ropes, and knives. Over four long months, their kidnappers drive them overland into the Cotton Kingdom to be sold as slaves. Determined to resist, the boys form a tight brotherhood as they struggle to free themselves and find their way home. 

Their ordeal—an odyssey that takes them from the Philadelphia waterfront to the marshes of Mississippi and then onward still—shines a glaring spotlight on the Reverse Underground Railroad, a black market network of human traffickers and slave traders who stole away thousands of legally free African Americans from their families in order to fuel slavery’s rapid expansion in the decades before the Civil War. 

This is a must read!