Shahana by Roseanne Hawke
Allen & Unwin, 2013. ISBN: 9781743312469. 216pgs. (pbk.)
(Age 11+) Recommended. Shahana is the first title in the Through My Eyes series, a moving series of courage and hope that focuses on children living in conflict zones around the world. Thirteen-year-old orphan Shahana lives alone with her younger brother Tanveer in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, because the rest of her family have died as a result of the war over Kashmir. They live very close to the Line of Control, the border which divides war-torn Kashmir in two and has Pakistani and Indian soldiers each patrolling their side of the fence. Shahana and Tanveer see a boy lying unconscious near the border and when the boy finally gains consciousness, they ask the boy where he is from and Zahid says who will you tell? Will Shahana risk everything to help a boy from the other side of the border? He can't stay, but how can she send him away? They both need him, Shahana is not sure she can get through another winter without help and Tanveer looks up to Zahid as the brother he recently lost to this war.
A beautiful, easy to read and thought provoking story by South Australian author Roseanne Hawke the story aims to increase awareness of the devastating effects of war on children.The book includes a timeline outlining the conflict between India and Pakistan over Kashmir dating from 1947 through to 2012 and a glossary, both adding to the reading experience. Teacher notes are also available.
I would recommend this book for ages 11+.