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Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  4,520 ratings  ·  445 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 busi ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published October 19th 1994 by HarperTeen (first published September 28th 1982)
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,520 ratings  ·  445 reviews


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Argona
I read this book years ago when I was a young teenage girl. It was my first time reading a book about a young girl that dresses as a boy and challenges the whole world that surrounds her, from her upbringing and family to the very society around her. I have always been a big fan of fairytales and a fairytale with a strong heroine was hard to find in those days. Let’s say… I fell in love! The beginning was a little slow but as the story progressed, I couldn’t get enough.

This book isn’t perfect e
...more
Trin
Jun 19, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 23, 2008 rated it did not like it
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
Barb in Maryland
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
Julene
Jun 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
trash™️
i'm crying after finishing it, crying writing this and i will be crying inside for the rest of my life because of this book.

it's really really beautiful, it just pierced my heart and im so overwhelmingly happy.

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Amy
Nov 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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.
Tryn
Jan 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Tennys
Feb 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nhi Nguyễn
What an enthralling and empowering story for young girls and women! This book is based on a popular folktale in Iraq since the 11th century, telling the story of Buran - the fourth daughter of seven daughters of a man. You know that time, the fact that a man only had daughters would make him a subject for ridicule, because how useless women were seen. So Buran’s father was constantly made fun of and looked down upon because he only had seven daughters and not a son, while his brother - Buran’s u ...more
Abigail
Aug 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers Who Enjoy Fiction Based on Folktales
The fourth of seven daughters, Buran grew into young womanhood keenly conscious of the fact that her gentle father, known throughout Baghdad as Abu al-Banat, or "the father of daughters," was considered unlucky to have had so many female children, but no son. Taught to read and write, and to play chess - unusual pursuits for a girl in the medieval Arab world - she had a sharp mind, and when her father grew ill, she convinced him to send her out into the world to make her fortune, just like her w ...more
Laura Krooswyk
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this tale of how a young lady stood up for her family amidst the cultural and religious beliefs of her time.
Angela
Mar 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Mary Jane W.
Aug 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
(What's this?? I'm actually writing a review of sorts?? Amazing!)

Lovely retelling of an Arabic folktale with just enough depth and theme to make it a proper story. I throughly enjoyed this and was in great need of it's fairytale ending. Buran was fANTASTIC and I adored her so. She was kick-butt (and way cooler than you) but she didn't have the cliché proud-tough-girl shell?? which was refreshing. And she knew how to keep her head and outsmart the situation. I thought it was great how she grew t
...more
twice_baked✌️
Feb 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rtc, 5-stars
This is another really sweet romantic-ish (not your normal romance) story. She is trying to make money for her family, goes "undercover" and dresses as a boy so that there's no scandal about a girl selling things - she meets a boy who thinks she's a boy and she starts liking him and of course there's tension because she can't tell him that she's a girl because of scandal and their family name and b/c he'd reject her and she doesn't want him to hate her and also because she really likes him and w ...more
Angeline
Apr 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: enjoyable
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
Madhulika Liddle
Sep 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
In medieval Baghdad lives a poor shopkeeper named Abu al-Banat, who has seven daughters but no sons. Diametrically opposite, in both wealth and nature and offspring, is his older brother, a merchant who is very wealthy, pompous, and far too proud of his seven sons. He spares no opportunity to taunt Abu al-Banat about his daughters: what use are seven daughters? And who will marry girls who bring no dowry? When Abu al-Banat, remembering the childhood closeness between his beloved fourth daughter ...more
Shannan
I don't have the words to express how much I love this book! I first discovered it as a kid in a pile of books my sister was preparing for her classroom. For two years after that, I somehow managed to find a copy of it, and each time I loved it more. Now as an adult, I found it in a thrift store and bought it immediately. If possible, I love it more.

I could describe this book as an Arabic folktale of a woman who disguises herself as a man to save her family, then falls in love with a prince, but
...more
Tabitha
Aug 07, 2019 rated it liked it
This ended up being way more about romance than lady boss girl power than I expected. Ah well.
Samantha Dionicio
it was great and i wants a book number towo
CHINEDU
Sep 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
very amazing book all the way round the story shows that you don't have to be a certain gender to do what you want to do.
Ashley Welch
Sep 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: other-asian-arab
This book was an incredible recommendation from a friend of mine. I'm on a bit of an Arab book streak right now, and this did not disappoint. I'll be honest, I'm usually not a HUGE fan of stories about "powerful women" because usually they seem repetitive: "Men are oppressive; oppressed woman rises up and does something incredible; suck it, men." At least that's how they usually seem to me. This book was a wonderful refreshment and a great love story to boot. While yes, Buran obviously lives in ...more
Rebekah
Mar 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fairytale, ya
Lovely fairytale retelling with a strong female lead who disguises herself like a man to find her fortune. I especially enjoyed Buran's interactions with her father - it was very easy for me to get lost in this world.
Burgandy Ice
Nov 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
“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
Sierra
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Elfdart
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 12, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
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.
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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.
“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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