Seven Daughters and Seven Sons
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Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  2,568 ratings  ·  298 reviews
In an ancient Arab nation, one woman dares to be different. Buran cannot - Buran will not-sit quietly at home and wait to be married to the man her father chooses. Determined to use her skills and earn a fortune, she instead disguises herself as a boy and travels by camel caravan to a distant city. There, she maintains her masculine disguise and establishes a successful bu...more
Hardcover, 220 pages
Published September 28th 1982 by Atheneum Books
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Trin
Reread, although the last time I read this YA novel I was actually in the intended age group. To my happy surprise, it is just as good as I remember. Based on an Iraqi legend, the novel follows Buran, one (the Elizabeth Bennet one, to be precise) of seven daughters of a poor father. To help her family get some badly needed money (and to avoid having to marry anyone unpleasant), Buran dresses up as a boy and sets off to make her fortune. Enter: one prince, and oh man, it's just so much fun. There...more
Mika
I’m sorry to say that the first new book I’ve read since March (aside from some great picture books I’ll review shortly) was this piece of fluff. There are no Wikipedia entries for the book or either of the two authors, which I take to be a bad sign. Actually, in hindsight, there were plenty of bad signs. But on with the review.

The story is based on an Iraqi folktale, and perhaps if either Ms. Cohen or Ms. Lovejoy were decent storytellers, I would have enjoyed the book. Broken into three parts,...more
Julene
Jun 29, 2009 Julene rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Heather Farrell
Recommended to Julene by: Lou Anne Randall
Shelves: favorites
I love, love, love this retelling of an Iranian folktale! Coming from that culture, you might not expect to find a story about the intelligence and empowerment of women, but that is what you get, coupled with a great love story! I read it to my husband recently and he loved it too!

One warning: although it seems to be written for a fairly young audience I would be cautious about letting your pre-pubescent kids have at it since there is a description of a girls appearance that might not be approp...more
Barbara
Utterly charming fairy tale. Buran is the middle of seven daughters of a poor merchant. Buran is smart, clever and wants to do something, anything to help the family. With the reluctant agreement of her parents, she disguises herself as a boy (not too hard for a slim teen-age girl to do)and sets out from Baghdad to earn (she hopes) a fortune as a trader. She becomes a servant and then apprentice to a wily merchant. Now known as Nasir, she is a partner in a very successful business in the port ci...more
Tennys
This is an all time favorite of mine. I have read it several times. In a culture where only boys are valued, a girl uses her ingenuity to help herself and her family. This book has intrigue, adventure, and a bit of romance. I will definitely read it again and again.
Angela
Sep 01, 2008 Angela rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 13 years and up
This is a beautiful and exotic book set in the ancient cities of Baghdad and Tyre. The story is fairly fast-paced and well-written, and the characters are interesting and complex.

It follows the adventures of Buran, the fourth of seven daughters, whose father is considered cursed since he has been deprived of sons. Such a man, who is also poor in business, cannot provide decent husbands for his daughters or a secure future for his family. Buran convinces her father to let her be the son he never...more
Sierra
Mar 05, 2012 Sierra rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who enjoy fairy-tale retellings and fantasy...
Recommended to Sierra by: Annie
Here's a quick description:
This book is based on an Iraqi folktale of a daughter (4th of 7 sisters) who strives to lift her family from their state of poverty by starting up a business in a foreign city by pretending to be a man. The book is split into three different parts, the first and third from the POV of Buran while the second is from the POV of Mahmud.

My opinion:
Even though I knew that this was not at all realistic (it is practically a fairy tale after all... with a decidedly Mulan-esqu...more
Arwen
Aug 20, 2008 Arwen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone!
This is one of my favorite books, a story of success against the odds and romance. I have read it at least four times now. The book is set in the ancient Middle East, in the cities of Baghdad and Tyre. It is based on an ancient Iraqi folktale. The author describes the culture and setting so well that you feel are present for Buran's struggles. In the end, it is obvious who is more fortunate, the father with sons or the father with daughters.

The story is wonderful, a smart and courageous girl mak...more
Elfdart
this story was somewhat reminiscent of the alanna series, what with the cross dressing to fulfill a dream. i’m not all that well versed in arabian culture, but from what i know of it this story seemed to be a valid representation. Buran is one of seven daughters, and of course in a patriarchal society this is not the best of luck as your daughters can’t work or (in this case) even go out into public. She was her father’s favourite and as there were no sons, her father taught her to read and writ...more
The other John
This is the second romance novel I've read in as many weeks! What's happening to me?? Actually this book, from my daughter's schoolbooks, is an expanded version of an old Iraqi folktale. Buran is a daughter of Malik, a poor shopkeeper who has the burden of seven daughters and no sons. His brother, in contrast, is quite wealthy and has seven sons. The rich brother is a real jerk and likes to rub Malik's nose in his "affliction". (As opposed to, say, giving his ol' bro some cash or something.) Wha...more
Zoe
This is a YA retelling of an Arabian folktale, about a girl who disguises herself as a boy and moves to a new city to start a business in order to support her family, who are struggling to get by with seven daughters in need of a dowry and no sons to help out. Of course, she falls in love while in disguise, and various complications ensue.

The love story was actually the worst part by far; it's extremely simplistic and just generally disappointing (possible spoilers: I particularly didn't like th...more
Angeline
My wonderful sister gave this book to me and told me that it was great. She was right! I really enjoyed this book. It was written in a way that pulled you in and made to forget what was going on around you. I love it when a book helps me take a break from real life.

It was fun to have such a great main character. I liked going through her growing process with her. I also really liked watching two young people that have been taught incorrect ways of looking at marriage find out that they can be be...more
Catherine Johns
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons is based on an old Iraqi folktale from the 11th century and it is brilliantly constructed to engage the reader from the first moment to the last.

Buran is a young girl growing up in Bagdad (Iraq) the middle of seven daughters to a slightly overbearing mother and a intelligent but often timid father. When the family's limited resources are ruined when her father falls ill Buran reveals a plan to her mother and father that she has been formulating for years: that she...more
Anajoy-rusticgirl
I thought it was a very good book up until the third part, and then it was still good but they added a paragraph in there, where you ask yourself why? It didn't need to be said. As girls you know your anatomy but boys don't need to read about that...and even as girls it didn't need to be explained. I didn't want to know about Buran's shape or body! Overall it was a good book...but that little paragraph ruined the rest of the book for me.
Sarah
This book is so different from what I normally read, but my goodness it was refreshing. I loved the history weaved into the tale, and the language mixed into the story. This story is gorgeous. Its the story of a girl who takes her fate into her hands, succeeds, and yet also realizes that even with all of that, money means nothing next to love. The romance was beautiful. This whole story is beautiful. I love the lessons she learns as a woman in the Fatmid era, both in society and personally. I'm...more
Christina
Loved the romance in this story, it was so unconventional, yet very believable. The heroine is one of those strong female characters you can't help but root for and the hero is very alpha male and handsome while also having a soft spot for Buran. Cute romance and I recommend!
Harrison Schwartz
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons is about a girl named Buran. It takes place during the Middle Ages, in Iraq. Buran is the daughter of a man who has... seven daughters! Her uncle is a cruel, wealthy merchant who has... seven sons! Buran dresses up as a man to set up shop and become wealthy, but she falls in love with another man! Will she give up her secret? Or will she ignore her desire for a man none other than the Prince of Tyre?

This book reminded me a lot of Mulan. A girl dresses up as a man t...more
Lisa
This is the perfect read for a young adult who needs a push to like reading. I love to promote these books because I have seen how they can change a young person's attitude toward reading. Fun story and intriguing conflict...
Amy
I took a young adult literature class at BYU inbetween being an Elem. Ed major and becoming an English Major. I think this is the book that spurred the change and sealed the deal. Great book.
Nupur
I first read this in seventh grade, and just FINALLY found it again after years of trying to find it. I haven't read it in a long time, so obviously my view of it is probably flawed, but I remember it being a brilliant story about a smart, fearless woman I could hold up as a role model.

Also, it didn't shy around the topics of nakedness or sex (although, of course, there is nothing graphic), and that was awesome at a time when I felt super awkward about my own body and the new and alien concept...more
Penny Johnson
Hearing part of the narrative in Buran's words, then Mahmud's words, then Buran's again reminded me of an old happily-married couple both telling a story to their eager grandchildren. After being together for so many years, Grandma and Grandpa can practically finish each others' sentences as they relate their own love story.

Buran's story is a romantic one, but it is also a satisfying tale of revenge, as she entices each cousin in turn to brand himself. "The father of sons lived to rue the day th...more
Sienna
This was a nice quick read and I highly recommend it if you feel like reading a light multi-cultural fiction book. Again, it was nice to be able to read this folktale from a different culture, as it took place in several cities in Syria. It reminded me a lot of another book I read last summer called Homeless Bird, but that book was more sad. Anyways, it's a great story, a legend perhaps, about a poor young woman from Baghdad named Buran who has six other sisters. Their situation seems hopeless,...more
Burgandy Ice
“This novel is based on a folktale that has been part of the oral tradition of Iraq since the eleventh century of the common era.”

The quote at the back of the book is just as quiet and unassuming as this little gem.

The entire story is written as a folk tale. The customs described obviously mark a period in history when camels were the only passage through the desert and women had a limited place in society. There are enough politically incorrect ideas represented in this book that I am not surp...more
Tryn
This short, romantic novel is based on a Persian legend, steeped in the traditions of the Middle East. The story both romanticizes and criticizes the cultural definition of femininity.

One theme of the novel is expressed on the last page, where Buran tells her children the story of how she and the Prince came together, because she says, “children should not think that the blessings of Allah are theirs by right or come to them simply for the asking.” No, this story teaches that a person must go o...more
Natalie
Apr 11, 2011 Natalie rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: 13 and up
Recommended to Natalie by: Annette Richards
Shelves: favorites, wishlist
Once upon a time in the city of Baghdad there lived to brothers. One of these brothers was wealthy and had seven sons, the other was poor and had seven daughters. The father of sons would gloat over his brother's misfortune, but the father of daughters was happy. His daughters were beautiful, clever and good, and he considered himself blessed. However, he fears for his daughter's futures when he becomes ill. What will happen to them if there is no man to support them?
It is this fear that causes...more
Doreen
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kristen
Short & Sweet: I cracked this book open and was easily taken into the story. Buran is one of seven daughters and her father's business is not doing well, meaning it will be hard for any of them to find suitable husbands. She has a mind for business and begs her father to let her travel to a far away city disguised as a boy to try and make their fortune. He relents and she ends up as a servant of a greedy merchant who quickly sees her wit for what it is and teaches her along the way to their...more
Jessica
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tabi {Don't think~Just write~Tell a story}
It was just that...ok. You definitely get to learn about the Arabian culture though, with it nicely woven into the storyline.
There was this one part that I blacked out...the girl describing herself naked....um, why? Seriously! You already know she's a girl!
I also thought the skipping around from different points of view was...interesting, I'll say that. Not really my way of telling a story. Although, have to say, Rick Riordan does a well-done and fascinating job of it in his The Red Pyramid and...more
Gloriana
Jun 04, 2012 Gloriana rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle to High School
Shelves: in-love
Usually, when I read, I have a weird obsession with how many pages are in it, how many pages I've read, and how many more pages there are left. I don't really know why, it's just something weird that I do. However, there are very few books that make me completely forget about that, and this is one of them.
I read it way back in middle school, so my memory of it was a bit foggy, but it was every bit as good as I remembered. It kept my attention right up until the very last page, I kid you not. I...more
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Barbara Cohen (1932-1992) was the author of several acclaimed picture books and novels for young readers, including The Carp in the Bathtub, Yussel's Prayer: A Yom Kippur Story, Thank You, Jackie Robinson, and King of the Seventh Grade.
More about Barbara Cohen...
Molly's Pilgrim Canterbury Tales Unicorns in the Rain The Carp in the Bathtub Thank You, Jackie Robinson

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“Listen to me, Amin," I said slowly. "Listen to me very carefully. Nothing is the same. Nothing will ever be the same again. There lives on this earth a woman who can be my friend and my lover. Do you understand that? Do you understand what a marvelous thing that is?"

"A friend is a friend," Uthman interrupted, "and a woman is a woman. You can't have them in one person. The whole world knows that."

"If that's what the whole world knows, ...then the whole world is wrong. I believed the whole world, and I lost her.”
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