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A Cave in the Clouds

A Young Woman's Escape from ISIS

Interest Age: 16+
Grade: 11+
Reading Level: Common Core Correlations
CCSS.ELA-Literacy Strand-Reading literature: L.9-10.3,4,4a,4b,4d,5,5a,5b,6

Reading Level: Lexile HL750L
Hardcover : 9781773212357, 248 pages, April 2019 , 8.25" x 5.5"
Paperback : 9781773212340, 248 pages, April 2019 , 8.25" x 5.5"
Ebook (EPUB) : 9781773212371, 248 pages, March 2019

Table of contents

A Cave in the Clouds | Table on Contents 

Foreword   vii

A Note from the Authors    ix

Maps   xi

Chapter One: The Purpose of Life   3

Chapter Two: Spoils of War   15

Chapter Three: The Stranger  26

Chapter Four: Invasion   41

Chapter Five: Sabaya  51

Chapter Six: Prisoner  62

Chapter Seven: Adrift   70

Chapter Eight: On the Other Side   79

Chapter Nine: In Between Heaven and Earth   87

Chapter Ten: Awakening      99

Chapter Eleven: Immortal   108

Chapter Twelve: The Dark Room  113

Chapter Thirteen: The American  119

Chapter Fourteen: A Cave in the Clouds  130

Chapter Fifteen: Jinn   136

Chapter Sixteen: Death  149

Chapter Seventeen: Houses   156

Chapter Eighteen: Reunion  164

Chapter Nineteen: Escape 170

Chapter Twenty: Return to Iraq  180

Chapter Twenty-One: We’re Not Afraid of Darkness  194

Chapter Twenty-Two: Return to Love  206

Chapter Twenty-Three: Giving  212

Chapter Twenty-Four: Freedom 216

Epilogue  229

Acknowledgments   231


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

Badeeah Hassan was just 18 when she witnessed firsthand the horrors of the 2014 genocide of the Yazidi people by ISIS forces. Captured by ISIS, known locally as Daesh, Badeeah 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. Badeeah’s story takes her to Syria where she is sold to a high-ranking ISIS commander known as Al Amriki, the American, kept as a house slave, raped, 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 to maintain a small bit of control in an otherwise volatile situation. Ultimately, it is her profound sense of faith and brave resistance that lead her to escape with Eivan and reunite with family.

Since her escape, Badeeah has brought her harrowing story of war and survival to the world’s stage, raising awareness about the strength of her people and the acts of genocide against them. This captivating account of courage extends beyond the confines of her experience; Badeeah’s story is about the resilience of women, girls, and persecuted groups everywhere in the face of seemingly insurmountable oppression.


  • Joint winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, *starred selection, Canadian Children’s Book Centre 2019


“It is not easy to read, but it is the current reality and it is well told.”

- Youth Services Book Review, 12/18/18

“A grim but worthy read.” 

- Kirkus Reviews, 12/19/18

“Stands out for its coverage of the assault upon a small cultural group, the Ezidis.” 

- CM Reviews, 02/08/19

“Deeply personal and immediately real . . . The narrative is authentic . . . poetic and beautiful.”

- School Library Journal, *starred review, 03/19

“Badeeah’s story is one ultimately of hope.” 

- School Library Connection, 05/19

“A powerful read . . . and a story that needed to be told.” 

- Book Time, 04/08/19

“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