Proceeds from The Good Braider go to Doctors Without Borders.

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.

“Viola’s viewpoint will grip readers with its harsh truths… An essential addition to the Booklist Core Collection feature, “The New Immigration Story.”
Hazel Rochman,  Booklist **starred review**

“Viola’s memorable, affecting voice will go far to help students step outside of their own experience and walk a mile in another’s shoes.”
School Library Journal **starred review**


A YALSA/ American Library Association Best Book for Young Adult

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

A YALSA 2017 Popular Paperback for Young Adults

Winner of The Boston Authors Club Young Reader Award

A 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.”

Further Praise for the Book

“Bold and brave…” American Immigration Council

“I wish every teenager — nay, every person — in Portland could read Terry Farish’s new book, The Good Braider (Marshall Cavendish/Amazon Children’s Publishing). Conceived over the course of 10 years, and drawing on ethnographic research conducted in local kitchens, living rooms, and Kennedy Park, this young-adult novel is a searing, stark, and ultimately hopeful account of what it means to be a young woman coming of age in a complicated world.”
Deirdre Fultron, 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

”Terry Farish’s new book, The Good Braider, is nothing short of a gift to our young people.”
The Concord Monitor

“The cover goes beautifully with the tale. A limitless blue sky, a knot of braids at the base of a long, graceful neck – the image epitomizes beauty and promise.”
Finding Wonderland

“Reminiscent of Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples, the fully realized characters and the story are completely captivating.”
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 May 17, 2012  p. 59-60

“This book can be an important vehicle in building cultural awareness and sensitivity. I have nominated it as a YALSA Best Fiction book.”
ENGAGE / International Reading Association

“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