A Long Way From Home
by Alice Walsh
Second Story Press, 2012
ISBN 978-1-926920-79-5 (sc)
$11.95, 188 pp, ages 9 – 14
My favourite character in the book is Rabia because although she is only 14 she seems as wise as an old woman. She is the one who takes care of what is left of her family and makes sure they are safe. When someone is rude to her, instead of taking offence and getting mad, she assumes they are having a bad day and makes a point to be kind to them. I think it would be fun to be friends with Leah because she is very kind and generous. She let some strangers stay in her house because the place they were staying in was too noisy to sleep in. She also has a good sense of adventure; she planned for her and a friend to stow away in her uncle’s car.
One of my favourite parts of the story is when Leah and Colin stowed away in their uncle’s car. They thought he was going to visit someone and assumed that when he stopped they could go to the hospital. Leah, who had not seen her mom in a long time, missed her mom and wanted to see her. Colin thought maybe his missing dad was the mysterious man staying in the hospital with no identification. The ride there is suspenseful but then they realize that he was not actually visiting someone but going to a rock concert, nowhere near the hospital!
I liked this story because it was fictional but at the same time it was based on true events. I had no idea how hard it is to live in Afghanistan with the Taliban in rule, especially for women and girls. I knew the Taliban had cruel ways but did not know they would wipe out whole families if they felt like it. The characters were all interesting and imaginable. This book would work for both boys and girls. I would say the reader should be at least twelve years old to read it. Any teen that likes fictional novels but also has an interest for world issues would enjoy this book!
Review by Emma, age 14, grade 9.
This review is from Canadian Teacher Magazine’s Mar/Apr 2013 issue.