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A novel by Rukhsana Khan
Published by Groundwood Books
183 pg, Softcover with Glossary
183 pg, Hardcover with Glossary
AR Quiz No. 130463 EN Fiction
IL: MG - BL: 3.7 - AR Pts:
AR Quiz Types: RP
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
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
To hear Rukhsana discuss this book with host Shelagh Rogers on CBC
To see a book trailer
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
Nominated for Red Cedar Award 2011/2012
Nominated for Red Dot Award
Nominated for 2010/2011 Hackmatack Award
Nominated for 2010 National IODE Violet
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
"...[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
-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."
"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."