Wanting Mor

Wanting Mor
Click to Enlarge
A novel by Rukhsana Khan
Published by Groundwood Books

Buy Wanting Mor at
183 pg, Softcover with Glossary
$12.95 CDN
ISBN 978-0-88899-862-0
183 pg, Hardcover with Glossary
$17.95 CDN
ISBN 978-0-88899-858-3 
AR Quiz No. 130463 EN Fiction
IL: MG - BL: 3.7 - AR Pts: 6.0
AR Quiz Types: RP

View Teacher's Guide
Wanting Mor will also be published in Italy by RCS Libri publishers and in Australia and New Zealand by Allen & Unwin Book Publishers. It has recently been sold to a Japanese publisher as well. Click here for the teacher guide prepared by Allen & Unwin. (Note that the Australian title for Wanting Mor is Jameela)

Wanting Mor is about a girl named Jameela, living in post Taliban Afghanistan, whose mother dies during the war. Her father gets remarried, but her stepmother doesn't want her so her father takes her to the marketplace and leaves her there. Based on a true story about a girl who ended up in one of the orphanages Rukhsana sponsors in Afghanistan through the royalties of her book The Roses in My Carpets.  To read more about these orphanages click here.

Watch Rukhsana's Book Talk/Tutorial for tips on how to best use this book in the classroom.

To hear an audio through of the author talking about and reading from Wanting Mor click here

To hear Rukhsana discuss this book with host Shelagh Rogers on CBC radio:

To see a book trailer Wanting Mor

Awards & Recognition

  • WINNER of the 2009 Middle East Book Award (Youth Fiction Category)

    • The Middle East Book Award recognizes quality books for children and young adults that contribute meaningfully to an understanding of the Middle East and its component societies and cultures. Books are judged on the authenticity of their portrayal of a Middle Eastern subject, as well as on their characterization, plot, and appeal for the intended audience.  For the purposes of this award, “The Middle East” is defined as the Arab World, Iran, Israel, Turkey, and Afghanistan.

  • Nominated for Muslim Writer's Award (U.K.)

  • USBBY Outstanding International Books List

  • IRA Notable Books for a Global Society

  • The Society of School Librarians International Honor Award

  • Pennsylvania School Librarians Association Top 10 Fiction List

  • Capital Choices Noteworthy Titles for Children & Teens

  • 2010 Skipping Stones Honor Book

  • Nominated for Rocky Mountain Book Award 2011

  • Nominated for Red Cedar Award 2011/2012

  • Nominated for Red Dot Award

  • Nominated for 2010/2011 Hackmatack Award

  • Nominated for 2010 National IODE Violet Downey Award

  • Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books 2010 starred selection


"… A searing opening chapter describing Jameela’s discovery of her mother’s dead body will draw readers into the girl’s story. ..they will certainly sympathize with her and rejoice in the ultimate outcome. An extensive glossary is appended."

-Horn Book Magazine-


"In this novel’s heartbreaking opening, a young Afghani girl, Jameela, discovers that her ill mother (Mor) has died in the night. Within a month, her father moves with Jameela to Kabul and marries a widow, who treats Jameela like a slave...Set in 2001, this compelling story is based on real incidents. Jameela’s matter-of-fact, first-person narrative will awaken young readers to life and conditions in Afghanistan. The story is packed with Pushto words that may slow some readers, but a helpful glossary is included. Pair this with The Breadwinner (2001) by Deborah Ellis for a picture of life before the American invasion."


"...[T]he storyteller's descriptive language is lovely...Her characters are realistic...Young readers' eyes will be opened to life in another culture."

-VOYA (Voice of Youth Advocates)


"This short novel looks at life in Afghanistan just after the fall of the Taliban. When Jameela's devout mother dies, her father-who has always strayed from the rules, dabbling in opium, skipping his prayers-abruptly moves them from the country to Kabul, where he lives a more Westernized lifestyle (alcohol included) and has little patience-especially after his new wife complains-for a daughter who is unattractive, devout and a bit too good to be true...fills a niche and does so with respect for the people and places described-and with sometimes downright lovely language."



"...a powerfully rendered tale..."

-Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books-

"As strange and faraway a place as Afghanistan may be to most Canadian readers, in Rukhsana Khan's contemporary story it has a fairy-tale familiarity--of the Grimm sort, not Disney. Like Cinderella, Wanting Mor's young heroine, Jameela, becomes a slave to her stepmother. Like Hansel and Gretel, she is cast out into the dangerous world by her feckless father.

This is an Afghanistan gripped by war, yet it is also a place of piety and surprising generosity. Khan puts us completely inside the head of her young protagonist...After Jameela's father abandons her at the market, the worst does not happen...When she finds safety and stability--no happy-ever-after, but a chance for a useful future--we stop holding our breath and instead rejoice for her."

-Quill & Quire-

"Jameela, a child living in rural Afghanistan, has one goal: to make her beloved mother proud of her. When her mother dies after a short illness, Jameela is left with her drug-addicted and abusive father who sells all their belongings and brings her to work as a near-slave in his native Kabul... I think Wanting Mor will be of general interest to adolescent readers, particularly considering the current nature of the story, as Afghanistan remains in the news headlines...Overall, Wanting Mor is a fast-paced story about the triumph of one girl's spirit in the face of horrifying trauma."

-CM Magazine- 

"The strength of Khan’s writing lies in her skill at bringing her characters to life in all their complexities: and this is particularly notable when considering that Jameela, whose words tell the story, only gradually learns that you can’t simply pigeon-hole people as good or bad. Wanting Mor is a compelling story which will transport readers into the world of an intelligent and engagingly honest heroine. It is also a beautiful testimony to the real girl, Sameela, around whose heart-breaking one-paragraph mention in a report from Afghanistan’s Department of Orphanages Khan has woven her tale."

-Paper Tigers-