Talking with Zareen Jaffery.
Booklist Reviews 2010 June #1
Beginning in the months before 9/11, this sensitive, timely debut follows an Afghan family's emigration to San Francisco. After receiving a PhD in the U.S. and returning to Kabul to help rebuild the country, Fadi's father has grown disillusioned with the Taliban ("These are not true Muslims"), and he pays human traffickers to smuggle his family into Pakistan. During the terrifying flight, Fadi's six-year-old sister, Mariam, is lost. After fruitless, life-risking searches, the grief-stricken family tries to begin anew in California, while overseas efforts to find Mariam continue. Conversations often feel purposeful as Senzai educates readers about U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, Afghan cultural diversity, and the Qur'an's fundamental messages of peace. But she writes with powerful, realistic detail about Fadi's family's experiences, particularly the prejudice Fadi finds at school after planes hit the Twin Towers and the guilt he suffers over Mariam's disappearance. An abrupt but satisfying contrivance brings this illuminating docu-novel to a joyful conclusion, and young readers may well want to move on to the appended resources to learn more. Copyright 2010 Booklist Reviews.
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
Fadi's family flees from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Fremont, California, in 2001. His six-year-old sister, Mariam, is left behind during their escape, for which Fadi wrongly feels responsible. He enters a photography contest to win a plane ticket to Peshawar so he can try to track down Mariam. The story is timely, but coincidences in the plot lessen its believability. Reading list, websites. Glos. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.