Thursday, May 31, 2012
SHOOTING KABUL by N.H. Senzai
Special Feature: Review by an elementary school student.
N.H. Senzai’s amazing talent is clearly shown in Shooting Kabul, her first novel. In her fictionalized account of her husband’s escape from Afghanistan, a bittersweet and terrifying world comes to life.
In the book, the main character, eleven-year-old Fadi, tries to cope (along with his family) with his move to Little Kabul in Fremont, CA, a lifetime away from the real city in Afghanistan, dominated at the time by the Taliban. Adding to the pressures of being Muslim asylum-seekers in a Christian country, Fadi is carrying the burden of guilt, as he feels it was his fault his six-year-old sister Mariam was accidentally left behind. Once the 9/11 attacks happen, the chances of finding Mariam practically disappear.
Suddenly, Fadi finds new hope. At his new middle school, he joins the photography club, paying for it with money he borrows from his older sister Noor. Through the club he finds out about a photography contest sponsored by the Societe Geographique. The grand prize is a trip to Kenya, China or India. Remembering how close India is to Afghanistan, Fadi figures this could be a way to find his beloved sister and restore his father’s honor. As he strives to win the contest, Fadi learns many important lessons about life.
I read this book on the recommendation of my mother, who heard about it on National Public Radio. It was one of the books chosen for their kids’ Backseat Book Club in early 2012. I am glad I decided to read it because it truly is a great book. I would especially recommend it for readers ten years old (my age) and up.
Review by Raquel Rivera, 5th grade