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A Young Woman’s Escape from ISIS

by Badeeah Hassan Ahmed
with Susan McClelland

Best Books for Kids & Teens, *starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre

Captured by ISIS, her bravery and faith became her pathway to freedom.

Badeeah Hassan was just 18 when ISIS forces, known locally as Daesh, invaded her village. She was among hundreds forced into a brutal human trafficking network made up of women and girls of Yazidi ethnicity, a much-persecuted minority culture of Iraq. Taken to Syria and sold to a high-ranking ISIS commander known as Al Amriki, the American, she is kept as a house slave and routinely assaulted. Only the presence of her young nephew Eivan and her friend Navine, also prisoners, keeps her from harming herself. In captivity, she draws on memories and stories from her childhood for strength. Ultimately, her profound sense of faith and brave resistance lead her to escape with Eivan and reunite with family.

Since her escape, Badeeah has brought her story of war and survival to the world’s stage, raising awareness about the acts of genocide against her culture and the strength of a people unknown to many around the world. Badeeah’s captivating account of courage is about the resilience of women, girls, and persecuted groups everywhere in the face of seemingly insurmountable oppression.


“Deeply personal and immediately real . . . The narrative is authentic . . . poetic and beautiful.”
—School Library Journal, *starred review, 03/19

“A grim but worthy read.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 12/19/18

“Badeeah’s story is one ultimately of hope.”
—School Library Connection, 05/19

“It is not easy to read, but it is the current reality and it is well told.”
—Youth Services Book Review, 12/18/18

“Stands out for its coverage of the assault upon a small cultural group, the Ezidis.”
—CM Reviews, 02/08/19

“Badeeah’s perspective is unique . . . This story is a necessary part of understanding how ISIS impacts the lives of those it rules.”
—Resource Links, 10/19

“A powerful read . . . and a story that needed to be told.”
—Book Time, 04/08/19

“Baddeah is a real person, and . . . her graphic descriptions bring home the horrors of the Ezidi genocide.”
—Booklist, 02/19


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Susan McClelland