The Good Braider

All proceeds from The Good Braider go to Doctors Without Borders.

My mother calls me by two names, Viola for Jesus,
and Keji, for first born girl.
“All men in Sudan will want to marry you,” she used to say.
“You are a girl from Juba.”

In this free verse novel for young adults and adults, Viola’s strikingly original voice sings out the story of her family’s journey from war-torn Sudan, to Cairo, and finally to Portland, Maine.











OD Bonny performs a tribute he wrote for The Good Braider, “A Girl From Juba.”


A YALSA/ American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults

An American Library Association selection for “Books for the College Bound and Lifelong Learner

A YALSA 2017 Popular Paperback for Young Adults

*Booklist, starred review

School Library Journal, starred review*

Winner of The Boston Authors Club Young Reader Award

School Library Journal Best Book of the Year

The Lupine Award presented by the Maine Library Association

A Bank Street College of Education Best Book of the Year

Georgia Peach Book Award Finalist

Indiana Eliot Rosewater High School Book Award List

New Hampshire Literary Award for Outstanding Young Adult Book

Goodreads Best Multicultural Young Adult Book

Texas Library Association Tayshas Reading List Selection

Link to Discussion Guides


OD Bonny performs a tribute he wrote for The Good Braider, “A Girl From Juba.” (video)


“I wish every teenager — nay, every person — in Portland could read Terry Farish’s new book, The Good Braider. Portland Phoenix
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“Viola’s narrative is also laced with hope, and underscored by her own sense of profound determination and strength.”

“This is a story written with the power of an elephant – yes, an elephant –  her spare words open your heart to grace and beauty.”
The Pirate Tree:  Social Justice and Children’s Literature

“Strong offering for readers with an interest in global understanding and current events.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“If you want to know how [people from Sudan] got here, read the news accounts. If you want to know how it feels to move from a violent, war-torn country to a community that fights over where to put a Walmart, then read The Good Braider.”
Hippo, The New Hampshire Weekly 

“In the same way that Keji artistically weaves the braids, Farish weaves the words.”
Edi Campbell  Crazy Quilt Edi

YALSA, The Hub, “Showing Our True Colors: YA Covers That Got It Right in 2012”

Children’s Book Council Diversity “Best-of” List