A Girl Called Problem
by Katie Quirk
Thirteen-year-old Shida, whose name means "problem" in Swahili, certainly has a lot of problems in her life -- her father is dead, her depressed mother is rumored to be a witch, her family bears the weight of a curse, and everyone in her rural Tanzanian village expects her to marry rather than pursue her dream of becoming a healer.
So when the elders of Litongo make a controversial decision to move Shida's people to a nearby village, Shida welcomes the change. Surely the opportunity to go to school and learn from a nurse can only mean good things. Nonetheless, mysterious calamities plague Shida's people after their move. Desperate to stay, Shida must prove to her people that life can be better in their new home.
I found this book to be surprisingly easy to read and very interesting. I learned about a period of African history that I knew nothing about previously. I loved that Shida wanted so desperately to become a learned woman, a nurse, and that, though she met some resistance, there were people who supported her dream and that she persisted to help make her dream come true. I liked the mystery aspect of this book and was pleased with how things worked out.
A different book than I would normally read, but one that I would recommend!