Take a Shelfie: Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai | Mentoring in the Middle

Take a Shelfie: Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

Imagine having to plan your escape from your home.  You can't speak to anyone about it, but you know it will happen soon.  And it terrifies you, because people in power want your father to join them, something he's not willing to do.  What happens if they force him?  You know it's only a matter of time before they come for him.

That's the situation that 12-year old Fadi, and his sisters Mariam, and Noor, find themselves in, in the summer of 2001.  But when the transport truck shows up at the rendezvous point in the middle of the night, it turns out the Taliban is not far behind.  In the chaos of throwing themselves onto the truck, six-year old Mariam looses her grip on Fadi's hand and is left behind.  The transport truck, filled to the brim with refugees can't go back without the risk of everyone being killed.

Fast forward to life in San Francisco, where Fadi's father, who has a Ph.D. in Agriculture (from the University of Wisconsin) is now driving a taxi to earn a living.  The family is attempting to adjust to this new life where the language, the food, and the customs are so different from their own.  Each member of the family hurts, and each feels that leaving Mariam behind is their fault.

Fadi slowly adjusts to life in middle school, making some friends and running into bullies.  It's in Photography Club though, that he comes to life.  And a chance to win a contest that would take him to India, the country next door to Pakistan, energizes him.  He is determined to find a way to locate Mariam and bring her home.  There are some unexpected plot twists, including that Fadi, determined to win the contest, doesn't.  But that doesn't mean that there isn't resolution.

Who would enjoy this book?

This is an interesting book, especially if you have students who are curious about life in other cultures, or if you have students from Pakistan or Afghanistan.  The tragedy of losing a sibling in this scary way is enough to keep students reading, hoping that there will be a happy ending.

If you'd like to read my review of Restart, click here.  For my review of House Arrest, click here.

What book are you reading right now that your students will enjoy?

 If you like, you can purchase the book through the link below.  You don't pay any extra for it but I earn a few pennies as an amazon affiliate.

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