Afghan Dreams: Young Voices From Afghanistan

Overview

If the stories that come out of Afghanistan are ever to contain hope for the future, then the young people readers will meet in these pages are that hope. From street workers to female students in newly formed academies, children who work in family businesses, and pickpockets who steal from visiting photographers, these are the faces of young Afghanis who universally wish for peace in their neighborhoods, in their country, in their lifetimes.

Award-winning photojournalist Tony ...

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Overview

If the stories that come out of Afghanistan are ever to contain hope for the future, then the young people readers will meet in these pages are that hope. From street workers to female students in newly formed academies, children who work in family businesses, and pickpockets who steal from visiting photographers, these are the faces of young Afghanis who universally wish for peace in their neighborhoods, in their country, in their lifetimes.

Award-winning photojournalist Tony O’Brien and filmmaker Mike Sullivan went to Afghanistan to interview and photograph children of a wide range of ages, from varied ethnic backgrounds, and with very different daily lives. As each one tells his or her story the reader is placed right in the middle of everyday life as it is lived by children in the midst of one of the world’s most enduringly conflict-ridden countries.

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Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Amy Luedtke
Hope and despair dance uneasily with each other throughout the pages of this simple yet powerful book. Although it is clichTd to say that something takes one "behind the headlines," this book truly makes the daily struggles of Afghan's children seem real and personally compelling. Comprised of photojournalist O'Brien's portraits of Afghani children ages eight through fifteen, this book explores the lives of diverse youth including pickpockets, students, and those working as bakers, incense sellers, and carpet makers. It includes a section on youth living in Kabul and those residing in the countryside. One of the most striking aspects of the photos is that the youth seem significantly older than they actually are. O'Brien's photographs are accompanied by responses to interviews conducted by O'Brien and documentarian Sullivan. The authors asked the youth about their dreams and wishes and what they would like to show children from another country. As the authors explain in their introduction, the answers ranged from hopes for daily survival to dreams about the future, but many focused on their strong desire for education. Most American readers will need help from teachers and librarians to discover this book. Although moving and insightful, it does not necessarily fit the needs of homework assignments. Although the number and scope of young people profiled is one of the book's greatest strengths, it may also be a weakness for readers who prefer to thoroughly get to know and identify with a few subjects. Reviewer: Amy Luedtke
School Library Journal

Gr 4 Up

This handsome photo-essay features contemporary Afghan children ranging in age from 8 to 18 years. They were asked about their families, lives, and hopes for the future. The young people's straightforward statements tell much about the devastating effects of decades of war. Some of them are still able to attend school; others wish they could. Even the youngest children work part of the day, often at street markets or in their family businesses, such as rug making. Two 10-year-olds pick pockets to survive. The matter-of-fact way they describe losing parents, siblings, and homes to war is jarring. Overall, the book provides a sensitive, poignant, and respectful look at the lives of these young people. It avoids sentimentality and politicizing. While the book will need an introduction, it offers Western children insight into a country and society often featured in the news. This is a timely, relevant, and well-executed offering.-Heide Piehler, Shorewood Public Library, WI

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781599902876
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
  • Publication date: 9/30/2008
  • Pages: 80
  • Sales rank: 639,888
  • Age range: 8 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.40 (w) x 10.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Tony O’Brien’s work has appeared in many national and international publications including Time, Life, Newsweek and many others. He is the head of the Documentary Studies program at the College of Santa Fe. When he’s not traveling to the far corners of the world, he lives with his family in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mike Sullivan is a bush pilot and filmmaker, spent years working with Jacques Cousteau, and has done humanitarian and environmental work all over the world including Central America, Africa, Irian Jaya, and Alaska. He studied film at the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he currently lives with his family.

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