Nashua Reads The Underground Girls of Kabul

The Underground Girls of Kabul by Jenny Nordberg is the selection for the 2016 Nashua Reads: One City, One Book program.

About the bookNashuaReads

In Afghanistan, where society is ruled almost entirely by men, the birth of a son is cause for celebration and the arrival of a daughter is often mourned as a failure. A bacha posh (literally “dressed up like a boy” in Dari) is a third kind of child—a girl who will be raised as a boy and presented as a son to the world. The Underground Girls of Kabul is a dramatic profile of Afghan women and girls clandestinely living on the other side of the gender divide.

The book follows bacha posh through childhood and puberty, when they are expected to begin transforming into subordinate wives and mothers. Some will refuse to rescind their male prerogatives in what the UN calls the world’s most dangerous country to be a woman.

You can read an excerpt of the book here.

Get your copy now

The library has over 50 copies of The Underground Girls of Kabul, including an audio version. In addition, sets of books are available for borrowing by book groups. So reserve your copy; read it; talk about it with your friends, coworkers, and neighbors; and then come to the Nashua Public Library to meet the author this fall.

About the author

Jenny Nordberg is a New York-based investigative reporter and author. In 2010, she broke the story of how girls grow up disguised as boys in gender-segregated Afghanistan. Her investigation was published in The New York Times and The International Herald Tribune.

Jenny Nordberg

Nashua Reads author Jenny Nordberg (credit: Magnus Forsberg)

At The New York Times investigative unit, Nordberg worked on projects such as an examination of the American freight railroad system, a series that won the Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, and U.S. efforts at exporting democracy to Haiti.

Nordberg has produced and written several documentaries for American television, about Iraqi refugees, Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation, and the impact of the global financial crisis in Europe. In Sweden, she was a member of the first investigative team at Swedish Broadcasting’s national radio division.

Nordberg holds a B.A. in law and journalism from Stockholm University and an M.A. from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.

 About Nashua Reads: One City, One Book

The goal of the One City, One Book program is to get as many Nashuans as possible to read the same book and talk about it with friends, coworkers, and neighbors. The Nashua program is now in its 14th year.

The idea of community reading programs originated in 1998 when the Washington Center for the Book sponsored “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book.” In the years since, similar programs, under names like “One City, One Book,” “The Big Read,” and others, have been held throughout the US.

Our sponsors

Jenny Nordberg’s appearance is sponsored by:

The Ella Anderson Trust

Friends of the Nashua Public Library


For more information about Nashua Reads, contact Carol Eyman at (603) 589-4610 or  For more information about Jenny Nordberg please visit