Wanting Mor
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Wanting Mor

3.93 of 5 stars 3.93  ·  rating details  ·  450 ratings  ·  135 reviews
Jameela and her family live in a poor, war-torn village in Afghanistan. Even with her cleft lip and lack of educational opportunities, Jameela feels relatively secure, sustained by her Muslim faith and the love of her mother, Mor. But when Mor dies, Jameela’s father impulsively decides to start a new life in Kabul. Jameela is appalled as he succumbs to alcohol and drugs, t...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published April 28th 2009 by Groundwood Books
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A sad story about a young girl growing in Afghanistan after the wars and during American occupation of that country. It is very sad.

I read this book at the same time that I read Esperanza Rising. Both stories touched me and both had a strong female as the main character, though Jameela in Wanting Mor seemed a little stronger mostly because of the ending of the story. I would like to hope that reading these kinds of books would help girls to know that they are stronger than they think and that li...more
This was one of the most heart-wrenching books I have read this year. The story centers around Jameela, a young Afghani girl who loses her mother Mor. Her father has many of his own personal issues and decides to uproot Jameela from their home and head off to Kabul, seeking a better life. Once in Kabul, the pair move around from place to place, and when her father re-marries, Jameela finds herself abandoned in the middle of this strange city. She ends up in an orphanage where she has to fall bac...more
Wanting Mor, a novel by Rukhsana Khan, tells the story of Jameela, a young Afghan girl whose mother dies in the beginning of the book. After that, her life becomes a series of tragedies and mishaps, and yet Jameela's goodness and honesty make this story ultimately a happy one.

After her mother dies, Jameela's father takes them from their small rural village to Kabul. He marries a woman who doesn't like Jameela, so he takes Jameela to the market and abandons her there. It's a heartbreaking part of...more
Casey Strauss
Jameela, a young Afghani girl, lives in a poor village with her mother and father. The rest of Jameela’s family has perished in a bombing at a family wedding. Jameela’s father is left broken and angry from this event; he withdraws from his wife and daughter to deal with his grief. Jameela then relies on her mother as her support system, going to her for advice and companionship. When Jameela’s mother suddenly dies, her world, as she knows it ends. Further emotionally devastated, her father turns...more
I don't believe there are many books about Afghanistan for children, and this one manages to be 9-to-12 appropriate while at the same time showing the incredible difficulties of life (especially as a female) in that most unfortunate of nations. Probably the author's background as a Muslim (albeit a Pakistani one) contributed to the authenticity of the narrative.

That said, it was kind of predictable, most of the characters were two-dimensional, and (without trying to spoil the book) it had a sort...more
I had a difficult time getting into and staying with this book. I think it would be appropriate for teenagers who are well read and up for a challenge. In addition, I think the teenager would have to have a knowledge of Islamic culture and a desire to know more. Just couldn't get into this one.
Muslim Voices book. Read this in two sittings. I really liked the emphasis on the value of reading & learning. I thought it was interesting the main character noted the way she or others would look down on people and for which reasons (differences in moral values, cleanliness, status, etc). Some parts of the books would be difficult to understand as there were a scattering of Arabic (or Farsi?) words throughout. I thought it was interesting we are never told which year it is beyond American...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I picked up this one in order to experience some of Rukhsana Khans's writing, as I was working on an author profile of her. Starting with Muslim Child: Understanding Islam Through Stories, I got a good idea of her faith which is one of the most striking aspects of her writing. Wanting Mor stays true to this by informing readers, who are likely to be from Canada or the United States and unfamiliar with Islam, of the tenets of this Middle Eastern faith. This story for young teens is less obviously...more
Mrs. Romaniuk
“I thought she was sleeping,” says Jameela at the beginning of this moving book. She describes how she discovered her mother, motionless and cold, one early morning. From this point on, her life changes drastically at a dizzying pace. Her father takes her away from the village she called home to live in Kabul. Jameela is self-conscious and constantly hides behind her porani due to her cleft palate. Not long after, her father remarries and Jameela’s stepmother convinces him to abandon Jameela. Th...more
Realistic fiction, family/friendship, survival, identity, learning to read. This book reminds me of the novels: The breadwinner and The story of my life: Afgan under the sky because it takes place in Afghanistan after 2001. In the opening chapter Jameela's mother passes away and the next day her father sells their mud home and all of their belongings and moves them to Kabul. Jamella becomes a house maid for a while and then her father decides to marry a woman so that they may have a better life....more
This story is all about Jameela and that's good and bad. I didn't like that because I felt that the rest of the characters were ignored. I really wanted to learn more about the stories of the other girls at the orphanage where Jameela ends up. Well, not all the girls, but the ones who she mentions the most. That's all she does, briefly mention them but she never delves deeper into their stories (Zeba, Soraya, Arwa), yet they know her entire story. This didn't seem particularly fair to me. I also...more
"If you can't be beautiful you should at least be good. People will appreciate that."

The protagonist Jameela embodies goodness. It is hard not to fall in love with her. She is patient, long suffering and sweet. Her attempts at being "good" when faced with impossible life situations left me wanting to rescue her from all the horrors dealt her throughout the story. Yet, I was left worried about the ultimate message this story sends the reader.

It's not that I am against "goodness" per se. But, ho...more
Jameela has never had much, but she does have a roof over her head, even if the floor is dirt. And food to eat, however simple it may be. And most importantly, she has her mother, her 'mor'. With her cleft lip she has never considered herself beautiful, but she has always tried to be good. But when she wakes up one morning to find her mother dead there's an even larger cleft created her in life. Her father moves her to town where she works as a servant, then he marries a selfish woman, and ultim...more
Canadian Children's Book Centre
Jameela keenly misses her beloved dead mother (Mor). Mor’s teaching had encouraged her on the path to becoming a gracious Muslim woman. However, Afghanistan life after the American invasion of 2001 is treacherous for vulnerable youth. Jameela’s father, ruined by drugs, alcohol and other Western- or war-spawned problems, cannot guide her. He moves them to the city, but at his new wife’s urging he abandons his daughter at the market and Jameela ends up in an orphanage. Readers track Jameela’s jour...more
"Wanting Mor" reminded me a bit of a Cinderella story, in that the main character, Jameela, loses her mother and is mistreated by her father and new stepmother. This is the second novel I have read recently that is set in Afghanistan, and I found the conditions for women to be shocking in both novels. Jameela is a young girl who suffers from a cleft lip. In the beginning of the story, her mother dies. The reader can immediately see the caution that Jameela takes when caring for her father who sm...more

Wanting Mor is the story of Jameela, a young Afghani girl. When her mother dies after a short illness, Jameela’s father decides to pack up and leave their home for Kabul selling all their belongings. Is doesn’t take long for Jameela’s Baba to remarry. Jameela becomes a virtual slave to her stepmother, cooking and cleaning and sleeping on the floor. She knows that her Mor would want her to be good so she never complains about the hard work that she has to endure. Her father spends much of the tim...more
Katy Vance
Overall, I liked this book. It is reminds me of a Thousand Splendid Suns but for a younger audience. I appreciated that the author took the time at the end of the book to explain the background for her story, which stemmed from a "report issued by Afghanistan's department of orphanages". Additionally, she acknowledged the women who helped her vet the story for accuracy and cultural authenticity, who are from Kabul and Khandahar. There is an excellent glossary at the end, which I wish I ahd thoug...more
Published: Groundwood Books, 2010
Age: 10 and up
Jameela is a young Afghani girl living during the Taliban and the American invasion with her mother and father. Her mother, whom she is very close to and gives her some security during this difficult time, suddenly dies. She lives in poverty, has no education and is born with a birth defect that left her with a cleft palette. Her father takes her to Kabul and does not care for her. He is a drunk and drug addicted and marries a woman for her home. Th...more
The story starts off sad, with Jameela (the main protagonist) losing her mother. She lives in post-Taliban Afghanistan with her father. Straight from the beginning you can connect with her. Yes, she has a cleft lip and is very religious, but she is also a young girl who just lost her mother, is fearful of her father, and is being dragged around just trying to find her place. It hits on some great issues that could be used to open up new conversations about far away people and places, and it also...more
Julie Graham 47150
The main character, Jameela, is a young Muslim girl living in Afghanistan. After her mother dies, Jameela's father sells all of their belongings and takes her to live with him in the city of Kabul (very different from living in the countryside where she has grown up). When Jameela's father remarries, he dumps her in the middle of Kabul and she ends up living in an orphanage. In dealing with the loss of her mother, being abandoned by her father, and the feelings associated with having a cleft lip...more
Sally Staples
What a title!! I think the title says it all about this book. I felt so bad for Jameela at such a young age to lose her mother and then for her father to be the way he was. The story was very descriptive especially when she described her mother's death and how they prepared and cleaned the body. You get a clear picture of her father and how he would smoke opium, drink and not look out for his own daughter. I felt so bad for her when her father would not even let her bring some of her mother's it...more
Kara Roberts
Jameela and her family live in a poor, war-torn village in Afghanistan. Even with her cleft lip and lack of educational opportunities, Jameela feels relatively secure, sustained by her Muslim faith and the love of her mother, Mor. But when Mor dies, Jameela’s father impulsively decides to start a new life in Kabul. Jameela is appalled as he succumbs to alcohol and drugs, then suddenly remarries, a situation that soon has her a virtual slave to a demanding stepmother. After she’s discovered tryin...more
Based on a true story, this is a powerful and touching novel about a young girl named Jameela living in a poor village in post-Taliban Afghanistan. War is second nature to her life but she dreams of going to school and reading. She also wishes that she was not born with a cleft lip among a list of other things she hopes for. Throughout all of her hardships however, Jameela has had undying faith and strength passed down from her mother, Mor. Her mother dies suddenly, and more changes come Jameela...more
Eh Lah
My teacher was suggested this book for me to read. The book is not going to be that hard to read. And I’m could know the word that are used and the event well. Then I take to read the book. It is how I get the book “Wanting Mor.”
Even though I didn’t choose the book myself, I love this book. I think the author so smart. The book was just a fiction. But I had a feeling for it. The reason I think why the author was written the book as thing happen in the story is to make the reader experience of ha...more
Wanting Mor by Rukhsana Khan
Groundwood Books, House of Anasi Press, Toronto & Berkeley, 2009
Interest level: YA (grades 7-10)

The main character, Jameela, is a young girl from Afghanistan. Her mother, Mor, dies from disease at the beginning of the book and now Jameela is left behind to deal with her irresponsible father and take over all the household duties. They live in poverty in a hut with no plumbing and a dirt floor, and they cook over a fire. They never have enough food, and their remot...more
Sarah Doyle
Jameela is a young Muslim girl who lives in Afghanistan. Her live is filled with conflict when her mother dies and her father remarries, only to abandon her, leaving her to live in an orphanage. However, dealing with the loss of her family and a cleft lip, Jameela remembers the words her mother, Mor, always told her, “If you can’t be beautiful you should at least be good.” The book explores the hardships that Jameela faces where she learns that she is more than her outside imperfections and with...more
Based on a true story, Wanting Mor, is the account of a young Afghani girl left motherless by her mother's untimely death. Jameela was extremely close to her mother and it seems as if her father doesn't quite know what to do with her or how to relate to her. She struggles to 'be good' and work hard to please the various Khalaas (aunties) her father sends her to. When her father decides to marry a vicious, unloving widow, Jameela tries even harder to please. Yet, her father listens to this harden...more
Opening paragraph: I thought she was sleeping. It was a relief to wake up to silence after all that coughing during the past few days.

From the glossary: Mor - Pushto word for mother.

Jameela doesn't realize it until later--and only gradually--but the death of her mother is the final straw that leaves her father a broken man. The rest of their family has already been killed by war, so all the two of them have left is each other. He responds by selling their house and all of their possessions and l...more
Stories like this are hard to come by; so little has been written about a young woman's experience of growing up in Afghanistan. I found value in the eye-opening way the author brought to life the heartbreaking conditions and plot turns this girl has to face. The ending was far too unrealistic for what is going on in Afghanistan today, but I can understand why the author did it. To make a tween read a book that is devestating all the way through AND have a devestating end would be too much.

Summary: When Jameela’s Mor (mother) dies, she is left alone with her father, an impulsive and frightening man who does not share the same devotion to his faith that Jameela does. Shortly after her mother’s death, Baba moves them to Kabul where he eventually marries a cruel woman who forces Baba to abandon Jameela on an unfamiliar street. She ends up in an orphanage where she overcomes some of her meekness and timidity before she finally comes into contact with her father and stepmother again, a...more
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