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UNDER THE PERSIMMON TREE by Suzanne Fisher Staples


by Suzanne Fisher Staples

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Aug. 8th, 2005
ISBN: 0-374-38025-2
Publisher: Frances Foster/Farrar, Straus & Giroux

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+)