Review Blog

Mar 05 2009

Mahtab's Story by Libby Gleeson

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2008. ISBN978 174175 334 9
(Ages 11+) In the middle of the night, Mahtab's parents wake her with her clothes ready at the end of her bed. She must dress quickly and quietly if they are to escape from their Taliban controlled city. So begins a hectic and heart stopping journey across the mountains into Pakistan where they wait for 8 months for news of their father who had gone ahead. Taking a plane to Malaysia and then Indonesia they then board a boat heading for Darwin. The journey is perilous and they hesitate to think of what may lie ahead.
In its bare bones, the story is one of many such stories: escaping a hated ruling junta, putting their lives into the hands of others, separation, hunger and even death, that make up the history of Australia. But this story is very recent, these people, vilified by a former government, now make up a growing part of our population and their stories, part of our consciousness and history, must be told. Gleeson interviewed a number of girls whose experiences mirror that of Mahtab, to get the story right, and she has succeeded brilliantly. The emotions evoked in this book will stay with the reader, encouraging sympathy, acceptance and tolerance.
Along with Rosanne Hawke's vivid story, Soraya the Storyteller, and Morris Gelitzman's Boy Overboard, and Deborah Ellis' wonderful series about Parvana and her friends, these novels give our students an opening into another world, far apart from their own, and reflect the stories of some of our students' lives, enabling us to develop understanding and empathy.
Fran Knight

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals 2017 longlist
CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist
Infographic: Teen reading habits
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
Newbery and Caldecott Medals 2017
ALA awards 2017
Costa Children's Book Award 2016
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates