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Rezai contributes to 'Fast Fierce Women' book

Published on February 16, 2022

Rezai contributes to 'Fast Fierce Women' book

"Fast Fierce Women" book cover. Niloufar Rezai, director of the Child and Family Development Resource Center (CFDRC) at Eastern Connecticut State University, has contributed a chapter in the book “Fast Fierce Women.” Edited by Gina Barreca, the book is authored solely by women and tells stories that place women in empowering positions. The contributors of this book stem from a variety of occupations, ranging from directors to activists, screen writers and more.

“The compilation of stories in ‘Fast Fierce Women’ captures the experiences of women from many walks of life and how these experiences have shaped who they are today,” said Rezai. Her chapter is titled “Niloufar Comes to America,” which is a mini-autobiography of the experiences and circumstances that led to her becoming a first-generation, Persian-American immigrant. In her chapter, Rezai also describes the identity crisis she faced as a child: “Teachers couldn't or wouldn't learn to say my name and it made me feel embarrassed as a small child.”

As director of the CFDRC, Rezai shared the values and mission of the center when deciding which books to read and what lessons to teach young children. “Built into our philosophy at the CFDRC is to break down and address stereotypes,” said Rezai. “We do not shy away from difficult conversations surrounding race, gender and equality with young children but rather invite conversations in developmentally appropriate ways,” said Rezai.

Studies have shown that children from the age of eight and under learn at a fast pace and can retain information better, which also means their minds are easily impressionable. Rezai explained why teaching these important lessons to children can help them better understand themselves and not fall into the category society tells them to. “These are formative years where children are forming their own identity and making sense of the world around them.

Teachers at the center are mindful and reflective of the books they select, making sure they are free of stereotypes and traditional gender roles.” Rezai also hopes this book inspires and helps with confidence in young girls. “Books that reflect girls as a strong main character rather than a princess waiting to be rescued... classroom materials that represent girls as scientists and doctors are critical as well,” said Rezai.

In today’s social climate when women are advocating for economic equality and equal opportunity, Rezai shared the following advice: “We should not accept circumstances such as gender or race inequality but use our strength, experience and power to tear it down. I strongly believe that is possible when we share our stories.  As an educator and a mentor to future educators, I strongly advocate that we have open conversation early and often as well as challenge ourselves to rethink books, materials and interactions with young children to reflect equity and diversity.”

To purchase "Fast Fierce Women," visit .

Written by Bobbi Brown