Cindy Benabderrahman's Reviews > Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind

Shabanu by Suzanne Fisher Staples
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's review
Apr 03, 2009

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bookshelves: books-4-children, edu-543-lit-4-children-project
Recommended for: Ages 10+
Read in April, 2009 , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** SUMMARY
Shabanu is the youngest in a family of “desert people” blessed only with daughters in male-dominated Cholistan, Pakistan. This is a bildungsroman, depicting the time in which Shabanu comes of age. She loves her life in the desert with her family. Her chore every day is to take care of the camels. She is especially fond of Guluband, a camel who dances and wears glass bracelets. In a land where the little water they have dwindles each day, Shabanu goes one last time to the fair with her father to sell camels—where only men and children go. After the fair, the family begins to plan her sister’s wedding to the brother of the man Shabanu is promised to marry the next year. However, her whole world gets turned upside down when things do not go as planned and Hamir, her sister’s betrothed, dies. In the family feud that ensues, it is decided that Shabanu’s sister will marry Murad, the man Shabanu was to marry, and that Shabanu will become the fourth wife of a wealthy landowner who has fallen in love with her. The book ends abruptly with Shabanu beginning her menstrual cycle, the signal that she has come of age and that it is time to plan her wedding.

This is am important piece of young adult literature because it feel honest, which is a quality more of the available multicultural literature needs. This book thwarts the stereotypical aspects we so often find, and instead shows Shabanu’s Pakistani people, her desert nomadic culture, and the families who live it as a proud, hardworking, family-oriented people who have strong emotions, dreams, and aspirations. While this book may not be suitable for those with reading comprehension issues, as it is full to the brim with unfamiliar names, concepts, and ideas (but for which there is a glossary at the beginning of the book, so it might be a good tool to use for teaching active reading strategies). I feel that this book would be appropriate from 4th through 12th grade, with differentiated instruction. It is full of real, believable characters based on real people known to the author during time spent in Cholistan.


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Reading Progress

04/03/2009 page 54
04/18/2009 page 288
100% "Done! I finished it a couple days ago, though."

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