Middle schoolers barely remember a time when the United States didn’t have troops in Afghanistan. Shooting Kabul takes place in Kabul and in Fremont, CA. The book starts as 12 year old Fadi and his family, afraid of the way Kabul has changed under the rule of the Taliban, make a dangerous nighttime escape from Afghanistan. Fadi loses hold of his six year old sister’s hand in the escape. Broken-hearted, the family is forced to save themselves and leave little Mariam behind in Afghanistan.
Shooting Kabul is the incredible story of an immigrant family adjusting to life in Fremont in a large Afghani community. The family moves in with relatives and has to live in cramped quarters and the hospitality of their relatives until Fadi’s father can find work. Fadi has to transition to an American middle school and his father finds work as a taxi driver. It is difficult to support the family as a taxi driver and particularly difficult, because his father was a university professor in Kabul. Fadi cannot forget his little sister, alone in Afghanistan, or maybe even Pakistan. He is determined to find her and bring her to America. He enters a photo competition with his new friend, a girl named Anh. First prize is a photographic journey to anywhere in the world. Fadi thinks this is his way to get back to Pakistan, where he thinks his sister might be.
Then, 9/11 happens, and it’s hard being at school where kids only see you as Afghani and someone who might be responsible for the attacks. Fadi concentrates harder on winning the photo competition and finding Mariam.
This book kept me and my students in suspense. I had to keep turning the pages to see if Fadi could find his little sister. A great read.
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