Thunder Over Kandahar
by Sharon E. McKay
Annick Press, 2010
$12.95, 264 pp, b/w photographs, ages 12+
This story is so vivid you could believe that Yasmine is real. The heart-stopping action is also tragically real for many children throughout Afghanistan. If you met Yasmine while she was wearing a burka you wouldn’t be able to tell much about her. If she wore a hijab you would see her wise, old eyes. But without her veil, you would see she is a strong young child who has seen too much for someone her age.
Yasmine knew the history of Afghanistan… With so much war, it was sometimes amazing to think that any buildings still stood, or that any people were still alive! (page 4)
Yasmine herself almost didn’t make it out alive. Her parents were born in Afghanistan but she was raised in England—unused to the customs and expectations, beaten by the Taliban for her foreign ways, robbed of her best friend by an arranged marriage and then of her parents by a vicious attack, Yasmine struggles against the Afghani culture where there is no life for girls or women. She manages to run away with her best friend. The journey, however, changes her forever. She is helped by UN soldiers, tricked by locals and left by the side of the road. She travels by foot through the mountains and comes far too close to the Taliban, and in the end—when she can almost taste freedom—she is the victim of a suicide bomber. After healing and trying to piece together her fragmented memory, Yasmine understands her parents’ love of Afghanistan and desire to improve their home country. She, too, is struck by its beauty and decides to stay to build a better world, a world of peace.
Review by Amanda Parker.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s May/June 2011 issue.