It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel
by Firoozeh Dumas
Zomorod (Cindy) Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block . . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name—Cindy.
It’s 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 can’t distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. A poignant yet lighthearted middle grade debut from the author of the best-selling Funny in Farsi.
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About the Author
Firoozeh Dumas was born in Abadan, Iran and moved to Whittier, California at the age of seven. After a two-year stay, she and her family moved back to Iran and lived in Ahvaz and Tehran. Two years later, they moved back to Whittier, then to Newport Beach. Firoozeh then attended UC Berkeley where she met and married a Frenchman.
Firoozeh grew up listening to her father, a former Fulbright Scholar, recount the many colorful stories of his life. In 2001, with no prior writing experience, Firoozeh decided to write her stories as a gift for her children. Random House published these stories in 2003. Funny in Farsi was on the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times bestseller lists and was a finalist for the PEN/USA award in 2004 and a finalist in 2005 for an Audie Award for best audio book. She lost to Bob Dylan. She was also a finalist for the prestigious Thurber Prize for American Humor, the first Middle Eastern woman ever to receive this honor. Unfortunately, she lost that one to Jon Stewart. According to Firoozeh’s father, Firoozeh should have won.
In 2008, Firoozeh published a second set of stories, Laughing Without an Accent, which also became a New York Times bestseller. In 2016, she published her first book of middle grade fiction, It Ain’t so Awful, Falafel. Her novel has received high praise from readers of all ages.
Firoozeh has also written for the New York Times, Gourmet Magazine, Los Angeles Times, and many other outlets. You may have heard her commentaries on National Public Radio. When not writing, Firoozeh is active on the lecture circuit. She has spoken at hundreds of schools, conferences and festivals. She believes that everyone has a story to tell and that everyone’s story counts.