I picked up Shooting Kabul this past summer because it was one of the summer reading choices at my school. It’s also nominated for the Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Award this year. The book takes a rare look into the flight of refugees from Afghanistan just prior to the 9/11 attacks.
Author: N.H. Senzai
Age group: middle grade (ages 9-12)
Genre: Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Synopsis: Twelve-year-old Fadi and his family leave Afghanistan (illegally) in the summer of 2001. While trying to sneak out of the country, Fadi is responsible for holding the hand of his younger sister Mariam. The family waits for a truck to take them across the border to Pakistan. When it arrives, many families come out of hiding and swarm the truck. Mariam gets lost in the crowd just as Fadi is pulled up onto the truck.
When it becomes apparent the family won’t be able to find Mariam quickly, they move to the United States as planned and leave the search for Mariam to others. However, Fadi feels terribly guilty. A photography contest with a grand prize of a trip to India catches Fadi’s attention. Perhaps if he wins the contest and travels to India, he can sneak back into Afghanistan to save his sister.
Does it pass the “Homeschool Mom Test“? Yes. I didn’t find any objectionable material in this book. In fact, it provides some wonderful opportunities to discuss immigration and prejudice with children.