GREEN CARD VOICES Presents: 'My City Was a Sparkling Jewel'

We are honored to welcome Green Card Voices back to Wild Rumpus as they celebrate one of their newest releases, 'My City Was A Sparkling Jewel: Voices of Newcomer Youth From Afghanistan'

When American troops pulled out of Afghanistan in August 2021 and the Taliban returned to power, the lives of families were radically disrupted. Large, loving, vibrant families going about their daily lives were suddenly separated, and many were forced to flee. Subsequently, more than 76,000 Afghans were evacuated to the United States through 'Operation Allies Welcome', a federal program to coordinate efforts to support vulnerable Afghans, including those who worked alongside the U.S. military in Afghanistan over the past two decades, as they safely resettle in communities across the states.

Join Wild Rumpus Books and Green Card Voices for a reading and exhibition featuring youth who recently arrived from Afghanistan. Inspired by "My City Was a Sparkling Jewel: Voices of Newcomer Youth from Afghanistan," this event delves into the journeys of storytellers aged sixteen to twenty-two, representing various ethnic groups: Pashtun, Hazara, Pashai, and Tajik. Through a trauma-informed approach, Green Card Voices and its Afghan partners collected the stories of these youth who share the challenges, opportunities, dreams, and the impact in their families and friends left behind.

We will be joined by the following contributors:


Adina lived in Kabul’s neighborhood called Kart–e–Char in Afghanistan. Her life in Afghanistan was good, even if there was a war on and off. She went to school and spent time with her relatives whose homes she would visit often. After navigating camps in Qatar and New Jersey, Adina and her family began their new life here in Minnesota. Since she started attending high school, Adina has made many friends. She likes Minnesota because it has many lakes. When she walks around the lake, Adina feels calm. In the future, Adina wants to improve her English and to speak it fluently. Finally, she has a message for those who are currently in power in Afghanistan: “Let all the girls in Afghanistan go to school!”



Fariha lived in Mazār-e Sharīf, the second largest city after Kabul. She loved her city, which had beautiful mosques, extensive parks, big stores, tall and beautiful mountains, and green grass too. Fariha describes her journey from Afghanistan to America as an unforgettable story of her life, but it was hard too. She felt like she was in the ocean and needed to go across all this ocean to arrive in America. After resettling in Minnesota, Fariha got a new house, a new life, a new school, and new friends. Fariha wants to study hard to be a good person in the future, like a surgeon or heart doctor. Fariha hopes that one day every country will have freedom.



Marwa was born in Kabul, where she shared a life with her parents and six siblings. She had a good life there and felt safer compared to other regions. Though happy with her new life here, Marwa misses the intimacy she felt when they gathered to celebrate Eid and celebrations like Ramadan. After a difficult journey to make it to the airport and successfully fly out of Afghanistan, Marwa and her family passed through two camps, Qatar and New Jersey, before finally moving to Minnesota. She shares that being safe and secure for the recently arrived Afghans is like a gift. Living in Afghanistan was like living in a cage. Now Marwa feels like a bird that broke out of her cage and is free. In the future, she aims to become a police officer, a dream Marwa has had since she was a little girl. She’s hopeful she can make it.



My City Was a Sparkling Jewel: Voices of Newcomer Youth from Afghanistan By Tea Rozman (Editor), Zahra Lotfi (Editor), Jeannine Erickson (Editor) Cover Image
By Tea Rozman (Editor), Zahra Lotfi (Editor), Jeannine Erickson (Editor)
ISBN: 9781949523287
Availability: On Our Shelves Now (Subject to Availability)
Published: Green Card Voices - September 12th, 2023

Using a trauma-informed approach to gathering stories, this unique collection of 19 stories illuminates the range of challenges and successes met by the latest generation of displaced peoples from Afghanistan.

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2720 West 43rd Street
Minneapolis, MN 55410
United States
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