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Shooting Kabul

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,794 Ratings  ·  727 Reviews
In the summer of 2001, twelve-year-old Fadi's parents make the difficult decision to illegally leave Afghanistan and move the family to the United States. When their underground transport arrives at the rendezvous point, chaos ensues, and Fadi is left dragging his younger sister Mariam through the crush of people. But Mariam accidentally lets go of his hand and becomes los ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books (first published June 22nd 2009)
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Emmett This book is so good! the Sister gets lost behind in Afghanistan when there is a huge rush to get on a smuggling bus that will go past the border to…moreThis book is so good! the Sister gets lost behind in Afghanistan when there is a huge rush to get on a smuggling bus that will go past the border to Pakistan to escape Taliban rule. All about how to find the sister.SUPER GOOD!!!!!(less)
N.H. Senzai Depends on your 11 year old and maturity level, but yes -- thought I'm biased :)

Community Reviews

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Michael Finocchiaro
Shooting Kabul is an absolutely great book for kids in 3rd grade and up. It is the story of Fadi and his battle with his conscience after he loses his sister Mariam as his family is fleeing to Pakistan from their native Afghanistan terrorized by the Taliban. Particularly now, with the issues of Syrian refugees taking headlines, this is an important demonstration of the values of challenging banalized racism, adapting to a new country (Fremont, CA is where Fadi's family is welcomed by their cousi ...more
Brian Kelley
Jul 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
After reading multicultural titles Bamboo People, by Mitali Perkins; The Red Umbrella by Christina Gonzalez; and Inside Out and Back Again, by Thanhha Lai, I started to become critical of the books I made available to my students. I took stock of my classroom library--several hundred titles--it was lacking in variety. Where were the multicultural books? Where were the books that appeal to boy readers? Where were the books that could challenge my best readers? For each category I could think of, ...more
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
As a jh reading teacher who is trying to cover a multi-cultural classroom, I am going to teach this as a unit. This book covers stereotypes, bravery, family love and loyalty in a refreshing book for teens. Thanks N.H. Senzai for giving me a platform that will definitely impact students (EVEN boys!). By the way....I NEVER cry....I was crying!!!! That is quite the accomplishment. I couldn't put the book down and finished it in a few hours.
Ms. Rose
Mar 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
As a middle school English teacher, I found this book so impressive, especially for the audience for which it is written. The book covers issues of racism, classism, bullying, guilt, and loss (to name a few.) The story was incredible and while this is a short read for an adult I loved every moment of it and can't wait to share it with my high-readers!
 Miu Miu
Nov 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book is about a family fleeing from a chaotic situation, but lost their beloved sister Mariam along the way. Fadi is heartbroken and is trying to find every way possible to get his sister back, and along the way there were huge accidents that affected both him and his family. Will he find his sister, or live his entire life without her? Loving, amazing, well-written true immigrant experience. - Miu Miu :D
Sep 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai is an enthralling story -- based off a true one -- about the strength of bonds between siblings and a family, hope, and perseverance against all odds. It is a truly inspiring, amazing book, and I would recommend it to almost anyone.

The story begins in Kabul, Afghanistan, home of the main character, Fadi, and his family -- younger sister Mariam, older sister Noor, and his mother and father. His family had left Afghanistan for America so his father could get a PhD, bu
Feb 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
As posted on Outside of a Dog:

There are some books that carry so much weight, it’s miraculous they get off the ground at all. It can be story weight or character weight, or outside weight from press or advertising. Mockingbird was a very weighty book. Katherine Erskine had to juggle Asperger’s Syndrome, a dead sibling and a community recovering from a school shooting, and I think that the weight of it all put together caused the book to drag its feet on the ground, unable to hold it all in. Shoo
Brooke H
Jan 28, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What was the biggest decision in your life? How difficult was it? Was it as difficult as leaving everything behind and not knowing if you'll be alive the next day?In the book, Shooting Kabul
by N. H. Senzai, Fadi's parents made a very difficult decision to leave their past life behind in Afghanistan and start a new chapter in their life in America. Fadi's mother is sick and needs better health care, and the Taliban wants Fadi's father to join their group. On the day of their escape, they go throu
Aug 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-grade
My Kid/Teen Critics say to read this one.

I really loved this book. It was about a boy and his family escaping from Afghanistan before 9/11. Everything is going well, until his little sister gets lost in the scramble to get on a bus out. Once they get to America, the boy tries to figure out a way to get his sister back, while suffering teasing at school. I highly recommend it to anyone older than ten.
Reviewed by: Anne Age:13
Alison Strandell
Jul 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This story opened my eyes to some of the culture and people of Afghanistan, including in this case a family who came to America for a safer life. The theme that all members of our diverse human race deserve a fair chance at happiness and success is so important. Also, the novel kept me guessing and had a clever ending.
Oct 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fadi was just a normal kid with a normal life in afganistan, when the Taliban arrives they flee to america. But when 9/11 happens, every thing goes downhill as the search for his little sister gets a lot more complicated.
Biblio Curious
It's a great book for starting a conversation with children, 8-12 about the complexities of Afghanistan people and the surrounding issues. It covers topics at an age appropriate level for racism, 'immigration experience,' Islam, war, Pashtun Code of Ethics, culture shock, family tensions and even teen dating. The oldest daughter takes on an after school job to help out financially, so you could also branch out into socio-economic issues.

My spoiler free review:
Tiffani Shannon
Dec 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this book aloud to my 5th graders and it was wonderful. While they were skeptical at the beginning on whether they were going to enjoy it, by the end they couldn't get enough of it! The book evoked a strong range of emotions from my students and provided us with rich and powerful discussions about prejudice, racism, fear, anger, bullying, and love.
Kendrew Mao
Feb 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although I had been attracted to this novel due to having previously read The Kite Runner, Shooting Kabul by N.H Senzai is its own uniquely captivating story of a family's struggle, hope, diversity, and cultural prejudice.

The story begins in Kabul, Afghanistan where the protagonist Fadi lives with his father Habib, mother Zafoona, and siblings Noor and Mariam. Fadi’s family had previously left Afghanistan so Habib could complete his Ph.D. in agriculture, but had returned to help the Taliban and
Cesar Cruz
Oct 27, 2016 is currently reading it
The story, " Shooting Kabul" is a about a boy and his family. THis book goes through the sad adventure and the struggels they went through. 11-year-old Fadi and his family gently and silenty board a truck.THey did this to begin their escape from Afghanistan. When they were geting onto the tall truck, His six-year-old sister, Mariam lets go of her brother's hand and is tragically left behind. This part in the story made me have empthay for the poor girl. How frightend she would be. How she would ...more
I sooo loved this book! A great book for middle/jr high as well as high school for its depiction of a Muslim family fleeing the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9-11. Fadi and his family have tried to stay in their beloved country but the war has driven them from their home. Fadi's father, Habib, has paid the last of their money to flee their homeland. Fadi's family is close-knit, loving, and care deeply for each other. Fadi's mother, Zafoona, is ill and his sister, Noor, is helping her escape and F ...more
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I think 9-to-12s would really like this story, although it wasn't the best young adult novel I'd ever read. For the criticisms:

1. I think the ending would have been much more effective without the epilogue, which just seemed anticlimatic to me.
2. Fadi should have been showing a lot more culture shock -- for a kid raised in Afghanistan moving to San Francisco, he acts with remarkable aplomb. Even making allowances for his Western-influenced family, I found it unbelievable. The same applies to the
Zara Singh
Sep 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shooting Kabul is probably one of the most loving and compassionate novels I have ever read. A family living in Afghanistan during the time when the Afghans and the Soviet Union were at war. With the Taliban threatening everyone, Fadi's family decides to leave Afghanistan illegally. They travel to Jalalabad to catch a ride to Peshawar, Pakistan. When the truck arrives to take them to Peshawar, Maraim, Fadi's little sister, is left behind, due to Fadi's mistake of letting go of her hand. The rest ...more
Oct 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Fadi is a boy stuck in Afghanistan and all he wants to do is get out, but when his family tries to escape the Taliban attack the meeting point for the traffickers and his little sister is left behind. So when he gets to the US, Fadi tries multiple times to try and find solutions to finding his sister. One day he discovers a photography competition and enters hoping to get the grand prize which is a trip to India. A chance to find his sister. He doesn't receive the prize in the end, but when he g ...more
Jenny Zimmerman
Jan 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. It's a good sort of entry-level novel to the topic of Afghanistan for my students. I could see students reading this one first and moving on to Kite Runner and other stories from there. I think the story is powerful and important. I am excited for my students to read this novel. It is one of the books I recently got funded for my classroom on Donors Choose. Students will be able to choose this one for literature circles, and I think they'll like it. I hope it opens their eyes ...more
Oct 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
N.H. Senzai is one of my favorite writers. She is an expert at capturing and communicating the emotions of the characters in her stories. I could feel their feelings as if they were my own. I cried over her descriptions of the tragedies in Afghanistan. The story teaches an important lesson about blaming yourself for things you had no control over, and how that can affect people's lives. I would recommend this book to anyone over age 10. It night be too intense and sad for younger kids.
Jan 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2nd-quarter
"Shooting Kabul" was one of the best books I have ever read! The story line is amazing, the characters are interesting and the whole situation just sucks you in. I literally became addicted to that book because you get to feel what immigrants and people who don't fit in feel like. I really learned a lot from that book about feelings and Afghanistan. On top of that, N.H. Senzai does an amazing job portraying the characters! This is definitely a must-read!
Eliza Abady
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
LOVE this book!
Nov 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very emotional and thought provoking. great for younger kids in book clubs (I read it with my daughter for a book club.)
Victoria Ventura

This book is shows the true meaning of love, hope, fear, and what family true is. Five stars across the boards!
Edward Sullivan
Jun 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Appealing story about Afghan refugees who escape the oppression of the Taliban shortly before the September 11th attacks.
Barbra R
May 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My initial reaction after reading the book was that I felt I gained a deeper understanding of how countless families from Afghanistan could have been affected by the turmoil in the area. Also, while I liked the ending I did think about all the less-happy endings that families have faced and continue to face because of war, occupation, and politics. While reading the book I felt suspense and sadness for the family’s plight of losing their youngest child and subsequent suffering. The telling of th ...more
Apr 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
N.H. Senzai has created a realistic story that covers many "tough" topics to introduce to students, including racism, love/loyalty, and acceptance. Fadi and his family are forced to flee Kabul, Afghanistan due to the Taliban's regime. Upon entering the United States, Fadi is left with a hole in his heart (and extreme guilt) due to the separation of his youngest sister. Not only that, but he must also deal with living and going to school in a new culture. Kids (and adults) can be hateful to other ...more
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This delightful book was a random find at Barnes and Noble, and I'm so, so glad I picked it up. Senzai weaves a beautiful story with vibrant characters, and manages to fit a wealth of cultural and historic information about Afghanistan and Pakhtuns almost seamlessly into the tale. There were a few writing-style choices I found a bit distracting, but overall this book just shines. I would highly recommend this to young and old readers alike who want learn more about the heartbreaking, hopeful sto ...more
Ines Charrier
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book is absolutely 5 star. It gives insight on not only the historical complications Fadi and his family had to bear through, it shows the controversial side of us citizens' viewing on Muslims, but rather what it's like to flee a dangerous country and enter a completely unfamiliar one only to be judged from people who view you as an outsider. It gives a double world perspective filled with lots of emotion, desire, the connection between family, and socially ongoing problems today. Definitel ...more
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