A Handshake With Change
by 'Niyi Jacqueline Ojo
Trafford Publishing

"Tell me, Aisha, what if I went home with you to talk to your parents about you attending a school, I mean this school?"

Aisha is a young girl who lives with her family in Lagos, Nigeria. Having made the difficult journey across the Sahara desert to arrive there, they are forced to live in a shed and beg on the streets for change in order to eat. Aisha wants to do things differently, selling sweets like her friends, but her angry father, Tahir, refuses the notion. Even though Aisha is only seven years old, the circumstances around Aisha's birth have caused her father to deeply resent her, even going so far as to beat her and call her evil to her and to their neighbors. Fate intervenes for Aisha in a strange way when she is hit by a car while chasing after a well-dressed man to ask him for money. Now a new opportunity presents itself but first, she'll have to convince her father of her worth.

This title is actually a short play with characters and stage directions. Shining a light on the indignities suffered by small children in Nigeria who want a better future, the message of hope and calls for social justice should prove inspirational for many readers. The subject matter may be a little dark for some school curriculums, but the tragedy of this tale would make it a fine fit for the stage. Readers will not have to spend much time seeing this story to its conclusion, but will be captivated by the spirit of the main character in a way that inspires them to look for avenues of positive change in their own lives.

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