The news recently has been full of war stories happening in Afghanistan. For many young people the part of the world is unfamiliar. Unfortunately stories out of this country will make headlines and news probably for many years to come. To fill in the gaps for young readers I would highly recommend SHOOTING KABUL by N.H. Senzai (A Paula Wiseman book, Simon and Schuster Book for Young Readers, 2010. $16.99. June 2010).
This story opens as eleven year old Fadi is staring out a cab backseat window one starry night. Fadi, his parents and two sisters are fleeing from Kabul, Afghanistan, heading to Jalalabad in the eastern part of the country. Fadi’s father has given him a charge to watch over his six year old sister, Mariam. The taxi leaves the family at an abandoned site where they will be collected and taken the final part of their journey into Pakistan. When the truck arrives, other refugees hiding at the site rush to board. Fadi refuses to put his sister’s Barbie doll in his jacket and in the confusion she slips out of his hand. She is swept into the crowd and, when they arrive, Mariam is not with them. She has been left behind.