Razia's Ray of Hope: One Girl's Dream of an Education by Elizabeth Suneby, illustrated by Suana Verelst. Toronto: Kids Can Press, 2013. Grades 3–6.
Razia dreams of getting an education, but in her small village in Afghanistan, girls haven't been allowed to attend school for many years. When a new girls' school opens in the village, a determined Razia must convince her father and oldest brother that educating her would be best for her, their family, and their community. Proceeds from the sale of this book help support the Razia's Ray of Hope Foundation. Details here.
Camel Bells by Janne Carlsson. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2002. Grades 4–7.
In the late 1970s, Hajdar leaves his village in the countryside of Afghanistan for the excitement of the capital city Kabul, but he and his family are swept up in the turmoil when the Soviet Union invades his country.
Mud City by Deborah Ellis. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2004. Grades 4–7.
In the third book in the Breadwinner Trilogy, orphan Afghan refugee Shauzia leaves the rough Pakistan border camp and joins other homeless children on the streets of the city of Peshawar.
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2001. Grades 5–8.
Because the Taliban rulers of Kabul, Afghanistan, impose strict limitations on women's freedom and behavior, 11-year-old Parvana must disguise herself as a boy so that her family can survive after her father's arrest.
Haveli by Suzanne Fisher Staples. New York: Knopf, 1993. Grade 6 and up.
Having relented to the ways of her people in Pakistan and married the rich older man to whom she was pledged against her will, Shabanu is now the victim of his family's blood feud and the malice of his other wives. Sequel to Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind.
Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2005. Grade 6 and up.
During the 2001 Afghan War, the lives of Najmal, a young refugee from Kunduz, Afghanistan, and Nusrat, an American-Muslim teacher who is awaiting her husband's return from Mazar-i-Sharif, intersect at a school in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Parvana's Journey by Deborah Ellis. Toronto: Groundwood Books, 2003. Grades 7–10.
Thirteen-year-old Parvana and other Afghan children search the countryside for missing parents. Sequel to The Breadwinner.
Come Back to Afghanistan: A California Teenager's Story by Said Hyder Akbar & Susan Burton. New York: Bloomsbury. 2005. Grade 8 and up.
Akbar's refreshingly unsentimental reminiscences of visiting his father's homeland as a teen make for an intriguing portrait of Afghanistan at a time of significant transition.
My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban by Latifa. New York: Hyperion, 2001. Grades 9–12.
Before the Taliban takeover, Latifa's life revolved around school, friends, parties, and movies. Suddenly, she was confined to her apartment, unable to venture out uncovered by the hated burka.
Refugees by Catherine Stine. New York: Delacorte, 2005. Grades 9–12.
Following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Dawn, a 16-year-old runaway from San Francisco, connects by phone and e-mail with Johar, a gentle, 15-year-old Afghan who assists Dawn's foster mother, a doctor, at a Red Cross refugee camp in Peshawar.
Sources: Diane Campbell, former Department Head of English, Wellesley Middle School, Wellesley, MA; Beyond Belief Screening and Action Guide, Principle Pictures Inc., Plymouth, MA; Embassy of Afghanistan.