Ebrahim, Zak. The Terrorist’s Son: A Story of Choice. Ted Books, 2014. 96p. ISBN 9781476784809 $16.99 MS HS OT ****
Zak Ebrahim’s dad is a terrorist. That is not just some attention-grabbing first line; he assassinated a famous rabbi and helped plan the World Trade Center bombings. All this happened when Zak was very young and if you think you can imagine how confusing and upsetting that is well, probably you can’t. But in this small book Zak tries to tell what it was like for him and his sister and brother. He also tries to tell a little what it was like for his mother, though who can really know that. All of this is gripping narrative and imagining his young life as a boy raised by a zealot and bullied by every kid that figured out who he was is enough to keep readers reading. But Ebrahim has a more important message he is trying to get across and it is this: whatever their upbringing and history, everyone has the opportunity to choose love and peace. It is a remarkable true story told in under 100 pages. The topic is dark but the language is tame and it is a hopeful, inspiring book. Give it to readers of autobiography or world affairs, but also to reluctant readers. They may be willing to pick it up because it is small, and if they do they will keep reading because the story is so amazing.
Andrea Mullarkey, Berkeley Public Library