Books by Suzanne Fisher Staples

THE HOUSE OF DJINN by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Released: April 11, 2008

In this eloquently written sequel to Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind (1989) and Haveli (1993), Shabanu has been in hiding for ten years, fearing for the life of her daughter, Mumtaz. Everyone, including her parents and daughter, believes Shabanu to be dead, but it's time for her to return from "the realm of the buried" and seek out her daughter. Fifteen-year-old Mumtaz has fallen in love with her Hindu tennis teacher at the Lahore Club; meanwhile, her cousin Jameel lives in California and has given his heart to a beautiful Jewish skateboarder. When the family's patriarch dies, his choice of successor stirs up old jealousies and renewed violence, causing the lives of Shabanu, Mumtaz and Jameel to converge. Staples skillfully draws readers into the complicated web of relationships in the fictional Amirzai family in this fascinating tale of the conflict between tribal tradition and modernization in contemporary Pakistan. Though this can stand on its own, familiarity with its predecessors adds depth and richness to an important saga. (author's note, glossary) (Fiction. 11+) Read full book review >
UNDER THE PERSIMMON TREE by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Released: Aug. 8, 2005

Time: one month after September 11, 2001. Place: Northern Afghanistan. Enter 12-year-old Najmah, abandoned when her father and brother are taken away at gunpoint to fight for the Taliban and, soon after, her mother and baby brother die in an air attack. Then, enter Nusrat, a fair-haired New Yorker who has been living and teaching in Pakistan's Peshawar since her husband Faiz decided to work for an Afghan clinic. Through shifting points of view in alternating sections, readers learn about young Najmah's dangerous journey to a refugee camp, and of Nusrat's nagging worry about her husband from whom she's not heard in far too long. Najmah and Nusrat's stories collide when Najmah makes her way to Peshawar in search of her family and is taken to Nusrat, the American who teaches refugees under a persimmon tree. Together, they yearn for lost loved ones, discuss the nature of the stars they both adore and follow their hearts the best they can. Staples brings beautiful, war-torn Afghanistan closer in this affecting, eye-opening novel. (map, author's note, glossary) (Fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 8, 2003

Suzanne loves saving animals—crayfish, chipmunks, birds, tadpoles, snakes, turtles—but what she really wants is a dog. She imagines sitting on her dock on Chapman Lake in northeastern Pennsylvania with her large tan-and-black dog named Jeff; one day such a dog miraculously shows up. Love at first sight, except for parents who know how much work dogs are, a brother who's allergic, and a sister who's not responsible. When Jeff eats the neighbors' rhubarb patch, destroys Mr. Fisher's model train set, fathers mutts with Reid Wilmot's prize bird dog, has a tussle with the mailman, and finds himself painted green, Jeff's days with Suzanne are numbered. This mostly true story is written with style, humor, and empathy. In the final scene, Dr. Speicher tells Mrs. Fisher that Suzanne "has an active imagination, and that might turn out to be a good thing someday," and that has been Staples's gift to the world of children's literature. (Fiction. 8-12)Read full book review >
SHIVA'S FIRE by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Released: April 12, 2000

"palace, and the longing of Parvati not only for the dance but for the maharaja's son, make this a heady and exotic tale. (Fiction.12-14)"
A powerful new story from the author of Dangerous Skies (1996). Read full book review >
DANGEROUS SKIES by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Released: Sept. 24, 1996

Stubborn naãvetÇ destroys a close interracial friendship in this long, turgid story from the author of Haveli (1993), set on Virginia's Eastern Shore. After finding the floating body of a migrant worker, Buck, 12, is horrified when his best friend, Tunes, becomes a suspect. Sure that the real killer is prosperous, respected Jumbo Rawlins, ``six foot seven, every inch lean, mean, and ill-intentioned,'' Buck urges Tunes to tell her side of the story. Instead, Tunes disappears. When Buck tracks her down, he's horrified to learn from her that Rawlins has been abusing her physically and sexually. Tunes tries to tell him that a black girl's word won't carry much weight against that of a white adult, but Buck is so convinced that justice will out that he persuades her to come out of hiding. As predicted, she's arrested and tried while Rawlins remains untouched; though not convicted, Tunes moves away and drops out of Buck's life forever. In matching smart, resourceful, opaque Tunes to innocent and blindly loyal Buck, Staples creates a telling contrast, but her penchant for explaining characters, relationships, and situations rather than showing them, plus a plot that wanders like the setting's swampy waterways, slows the pace; ambiguities in Tunes's story, plus Buck's disillusioned, now-it's-five-years-later-and- life-goes-on finish, are puzzling. (Fiction. 11-13) Read full book review >
HAVELI by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Released: Sept. 1, 1993

In a follow-up to Shabanu (1989, Newbery Honor), the fourth wife of wealthy Pakistani landowner Rahim is still in her teens; her only child, Mumtaz, is nearly five. Though Shabanu is Rahim's favorite, she comes second to his political duties and must guard vigilantly against the scheming of his jealous older wives, suspicious of her desert origins and independent spirit; their plots go beyond cruel pranks to false accusations and threats of serious harm. While Rahim plans to consolidate family holdings through two marriages—of his spiteful daughter Leyla to her cousin Omar, just returned from the US with a graduate degree; and of his only son Ahmed, a foolish, slobbering idiot, to lovely Zabo, Shabanu's dear friend, daughter of Rahim's vicious brother Nazir (villain of the first book)—the intrigues against Shabanu and Mumtaz escalate. The two find temporary sanctuary in the haveli (mansion) of Rahim's widowed sister in Lahore, where Shabanu helps Zabo hide, in hope of escape, much of the money Nazir has given her for a trousseau; and where Shabanu falls in love—poignantly, without hope—with Omar. Again, Staples imbues Shabanu and her beautiful, brutally repressive world with a splendid reality that transcends the words on the page. The betrayals, violence, and richly sustaining loyalties she invokes in the gripping final events have a convincing inexorability tempered with hope at the tantalizingly open conclusion. A sequel isn't promised, but admirers of the intelligent and courageous Shabanu will thirst for more. Map, list of characters, glossary. (Fiction. 12+) Read full book review >
SHABANU by Suzanne Fisher Staples
Released: Oct. 1, 1989

"An unforgettable heroine set like a fine jewel in a wonderfully wrought book. Map, pronouncing list of names, glossary."
Using the present tense and the voice of Shabanu herself, this splendid first novel takes the reader, with astonishing immediacy, into the life and mind of a courageous, intelligent Pakistani girl. Read full book review >