The Incredible True Story of a Young Burn Victim's Journey from Afghanistan
The astonishing story of a brave little girl from Afghanistan who not only survived horrific disfiguring burns, but was given a second chance at life.
Tiny Dancer is the amazing true story of Zubaida Hasan, a nine-year-old girl from the remote deserts of Afghanistan, who, in the summer of 2001, accidentally fell into a kerosene fire while heating water for a bath. Though she was horribly mutilated, her father refused to give up and exhaustively sought help to save his child.
When an American Green Beret soldier by chance sees Zubaida and her father on the street, he decides he must get involved. With assistance from many members of the US military, little Zubaida is given a second chance at life. She is flown to Los Angeles to begin a two-year journey through a series of surgeries performed by famed burn surgeon Dr. Peter Grossman. He and his wife, Rebecca, eventually take the child into their own home. This is a heartfelt and inspiring story of incredible courage equally matched by incredible kindness.
“Flacco’s depiction of Zubaida’s culture shock is remarkable. [His] empathy and ability to tell Zubaida’s story like he’s inside her head makes for an engrossing feel-good read.” —Publishers Weekly
“Interesting and affecting. . . . [A] genuinely moving story.” —Booklist
One fateful day in July 2001, Zubaida, a nine-year-old Afghan girl, slipped while filling a kerosene heater and set herself on fire. Her burns were so severe, no one thought she'd live. But Zubaida survived, and her father brought her all over the region, finally to the American army base in Kandahar, trying to get help. A Green Beret listened, and Zubaida was flown to a specialized burn center in America for a year of reconstructive surgeries. Flacco's depiction of Zubaida's culture shock is remarkable. The TV and film writer explains how, for the first time, Zubaida was going to school, getting to make personal choices and spending time with children who had the luxury of imagining limitless futures. The medically complex procedures were successful; the social adjustments were difficult. With improved language skills, therapy and lots of love from her host family, Zubaida began to thrive (she even appeared on Oprah). But then it was time to return to Afghanistan, where she felt like a model ship in a bottle perfectly formed but going nowhere. Flacco's empathy and ability to tell Zubaida's story like he's inside her head makes for an engrossing feel-good read. Photos.