Five-year-old Pari accompanies her mother on her library bus rounds for the first time, stopping at a village and a refugee camp so that girls there can exchange books and have a lesson in English. Talking with her mother as they drive, Pari learns that she is lucky that she can attend school the next year. Pari’s mother had to learn in secret when it was forbidden to teach girls to read, and the young women the bus visits weekly have no other access to education. Inspired by the first library bus to operate in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Jason has just learned that his Afghan mother has been living illegally in the United States since his father was killed in Afghanistan. Although Jason was born in the US, it’s hard to feel American now when he’s terrified that his mother will be discovered — and that they will be separated. When he sees his mother being escorted from her workplace by two officers, Jason feels completely alone. He boards a train with the hope of finding his aunt in New York City, but as soon as he arrives in Penn Station, the bustling city makes him wonder if he’s overestimated what he can do. After an accident lands him in the hospital, Jason finds an unlikely ally in a fellow patient. Max, a whip-smart girl who wants nothing more than to explore the world on her own terms, joins Jason in planning a daring escape out of the hospital and into the skyscraper jungle — even though they both know that no matter how big New York City is, they won’t be able to run forever.
Obayda’s family is in need of some good fortune, and her aunt has an idea to bring the family luck—dress Obayda, the youngest of four sisters, as a boy, a bacha posh.Life in this in-between place is confusing, but once Obayda meets another bacha posh, everything changes. Their transformation won’t last forever, though—unless the two best friends can figure out a way to make it stick and make their newfound freedoms endure.
“I look at the sky, and I close my eyes, and my imagination begins to fly… The sky can be full of kites, I think, but also full of dreams. And my dream flies high, high up towards the stars. I’m a little Afghan girl who doesn’t stop dreaming. And my dream flies towards all of the regions, entering houses, in homes, in families, and in hearts. A little girl, a dream, a song for peace.”
Two teens from different ethnic groups in present-day Afghanistan must fight their culture, tradition, families, and the Taliban to stay together as they and another village boy relate the story of their forbidden love.
Twelve-year-old Ariana, a tomboy, and her ladylike cousin Laila, recently arrived from Afghanistan, do not get along but they pull together when a rival Afghani grocery store opens, rekindling an old family feud and threatening their family’s livelihood.
Razia dreams of getting an education, but in her small village in Afghanistan, girls haven’t been allowed to attend school for many years. When a new girls’ school opens in the village, a determined Razia must convince her father and oldest brother that educating her would be best for her, their family and their community.
Since its publication in 2000, hundreds of thousands of children all over the world have read and loved The Breadwinner. By reading the story of eleven-year-old Parvana and her struggles living under the terror of the Taliban, young readers came to know the plight of children in Afghanistan.But what has happened to Afghanistan’s children since the fall of the Taliban in 2001? In 2011, Deborah Ellis went to Kabul to find out. She interviewed children who spoke about their lives now. They are still living in a country torn apart by war. Violence and oppression still exist, particularly affecting the lives of girls, but the kids are weathering their lives with courage and optimism: “I was incredibly impressed by the sense of urgency these kids have needing to get as much education and life experience and fun as they can, because they never know when the boom is going to be lowered on them again.”The two dozen or so children featured in the book range in age from ten to seventeen. Many are girls Deb met through projects funded by Canadian Women for Women in Afghanistan, the organization that is supported by royalties from The Breadwinner Trilogy. Parvana’s Fund provides grants towards education projects for Afghan women and children, including schools, libraries and literacy programs.All royalties from the sale of Kids of Kabul will also go to Women for Women in Afghanistan. Aftermatter includes a map, glossary, a short history of Afghanistan and suggestions for further reading/resources.
Featured in Volume VI, Issue 1 of WOW Review.
On a military base in post-Taliban Afghanistan, American authorities have just imprisoned a teenaged girl found in a bombed-out school. The army major thinks she may be a terrorist working with the Taliban. The girl does not respond to questions in any language and remains silent, even when she is threatened, harassed and mistreated over several days. The only clue to her identity is a tattered shoulder bag containing papers that refer to people named Shauzia, Nooria, Leila, Asif, Hassan — and Parvana. In this long-awaited sequel to The Breadwinner Trilogy, Parvana is now fifteen years old. As she waits for foreign military forces to determine her fate, she remembers the past four years of her life. Reunited with her mother and sisters, she has been living in a village where her mother has finally managed to open a school for girls. But even though the Taliban has been driven from the government, the country is still at war, and many continue to view the education and freedom of girls and women with suspicion and fear.