Members of the audience gasped and whispered after Loukia Sarroub read a portion of her book that depicted the confusing lives of Yemeni girls living in the United States.
Sarroub spoke about the girls’ experiences in school situations — gym class, for example.
Each time a boy passed by the girls’ gym class, the female students would stop their running exercise; Yemeni men aren’t supposed to see women move in anything besides a moderate walk.
Their gym teacher didn’t understand — she berated them for being lazy and made them run more as punishment.
Sarroub, an assistant professor of education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln read selected sections from her new book “All American Yemeni Girls: Being Muslim in a Public School.”
More than 40 people filled the chairs set up in the middle of University Bookstore while more stood in the back for the reading and book signing event Thursday.
“It was a cultural eye-opener,” said Gina Luedtke, a senior broadcasting major who came to the book reading to get extra credit for a class.
The book follows six Yemeni girls through public schools from 1997-2002.
Both before and after Sept. 11, 2001, the girls were torn between American norms and their religious beliefs as well as traditional expectations of their parents and peers, Sarroub said.
Sarroub said that through their struggles, they managed to succeed beyond many expectations.