No Laughter Here

No Laughter Here by Rita Williams-Garcia (0-688-16247-9)
This is a very powerful book about female circumcision. Akilah and Victoria have been friends for years. They both feel free to be unique girls. But then Victoria goes with her family to Nigeria for the summer and returns changed. She will no longer speak in class, refuses to play during recess, and will not laugh.
The author takes a very difficult subject and makes it accessible to kids, demonstrating her skill as a writer. Akilah is an amazing female character, filled with both a powerlessness and a powerfulness at the same time. And finally, the cover of the book is wonderful, one of the best this year.
I recommend this one. It may not be one that you hand out to every kid who comes in the door, but the cover and the writing can stand on their own.