This is the next book up in my series on middle grade books that reflect the immigrant experience in the US.
When Fadi’s family flees from the Taliban in Afghanistan, his 6-year-old sister, Mariam, is accidentally left behind. As Fadi and his family try to adjust to life in San Francisco, Mariam is never far from their thoughts. At school, Fadi enters a photography contest, hoping to win the grand prize—a National Geographic photography trip to India. If he wins, Fadi plans to slip over the border into Afghanistan to find his sister. But after the events of 9/11, Fadi’s Pashtun family is fearful in their new home, and fearful that they’ll never be able to get Mariam out of Afghanistan.
Many of my students’ parents who were doctors or engineers in their home countries have to take jobs in the US where they aren’t able to utilize their training and talents. The only job that Fadi’s educated father can get in the US is a taxi driver, and his older sister works at McDonalds as the family struggles day-to-day. I know that many of my students will connect with Fadi and his family’s struggles.
Hand this book to the kid:
* who recently emigrated to the US
* who had to leave family behind in the home country
* whose parents struggle with a career change in the US
* who is going through culture shock
* who is learning English
* who is interested in photography
* who has experienced bullying
* who has immigrated to the U.S. and into your heart
Use this to teach:
* Empathy–While Fadi and his community endure acts of hate after the events of 9/11, this story introduces readers to the innocent victims of racial profiling.
* Photography--Middle School Art teachers, this is your book! Fadi’s saving grace at school is the photography club, and there are several details about what makes a good photo–composition, lighting, subject, etc.
*World Events–The story provides a straightforward explanation of the rise and fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the fear and hope that Afghanis experienced with the US invasion of their country.
Curriculum Guide here.
The Nitty Gritty~
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Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Publication Date: 2010
Number of Pages: 272
Reading Level: 5.4
Interest Level: ages 8 and up