Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shooting Kabul

In the summer of 2001, 11-year-old Afghan refugee, Fadi, was the last person in the family to touch his 6-year-old sister, Mariam, before the big army truck sped away without her. If only Fadi had just put her Barbie in his backpack like she had asked, she wouldn't have paused to pick up the beloved doll she dropped, and he wouldn't have lost grasp of her hand. It's all his fault, at least in his mind.

The family had no choice but to return to the United States where Mariam was born, without her. Fadi's American-educated father, Habib, had high hopes of helping the Taliban rebuild Afghanistan, but when the Taliban began to abuse power like their predecessors and expected Habib to help them, the family's only option was to flee. On top of the loss of Mariam, the family is also dealing with the anti-Muslim sentiment in the wake of 9/11.

Now Fadi has the perfect opportunity to bring Mariam home: he must win a national photography contest whose grand prize is a trip to India. And from India, it is just a short plane ride to Pakistan where the family now believes Mariam is.

Will Fadi triumph over a thousand other photography hopefuls? Will the family be reunited with Mariam after months of not knowing where or how she is, or even if she is alive?

To find out, read Shooting Kabul, by N. H. Senzai. 4th grade and up

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