Publisher's Note:  

In the summer of 2001, twelve year old Fadi’s parents make the difficult decision to illegally leave Afghanistan and move the family to the United States. When their underground transport arrives at the rendezvous point, chaos ensues, and Fadi is left dragging his younger sister Mariam through the crush of people. But Mariam accidentally lets go of his hand and becomes lost in the crowd, just as Fadi is snatched up into the truck. With Taliban soldiers closing in, the truck speeds away, leaving Mariam behind. Adjusting to life in the United States isn’t easy for Fadi’s family and as the events of September 11th unfold the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home? Based in part on the Ms. Senzai’s husband’s own experience fleeing his home in Soviet controlled Afghanistan in the 1970s, Shooting Kabul is a powerful story of hope, love, and perseverance.

Shooting Kabul

by N.H. Senzai

Review Date:

Recommended Age:

Overall Rating:

Profanity / Language Rating:

Violence / Gore Rating:

Sex / Nudity Rating:

Overall Review:  

This book was incredibly poignant and tender, as well as being educational. I learned a lot about Afghanistan and all the political upheaval there that led to the Taliban taking over, but the writing was on a level that young people can understand and relate to. Throughout the book I was asking myself questions and thinking about my own culture's prejudices and preconceived ideas, and found that many of them could be changed by what I read. 


It's a rare opportunity to look at another culture through different eyes, especially one that has been villified as much as people of the Muslim faith have in America. The story of Fadi and his personal struggle was a personal way to share ideas many of us might not be receptive to. What young person hasn't had a personal struggle to overcome, or hidden guilt about something they feel responsible for? Senzai does a great job of crossing cultural barriers and inviting the reader into Fadi's head, where it becomes easier to understand his background and reasons for acting the way he does. 


Ultimately this is a story of hope, loyalty, and friendship. Although heavy topics are discussed, they are broached in a gentle way. What a wonderful way to make something good from the senseless tragedy  of 9/11 and the way it hurt us all! 

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language: 1 religious exclamation; 1 scatological word; 1 anatomical term.


Violence/Gore: A character destroys property; characters discuss death of family members in war; a character fistfights two bullies and receives a black eye.

Mature Subject Matter:  

The events of 9/11 are discussed with no graphic detail;  Afghan government turmoil, related poverty and social upheaval;  family separation.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

The Afghan drug trade is discussed.

Reviewed By Leslie
No image available