Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind

Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind

3.9 108
by Suzanne Fisher Staples

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Life is both sweet and cruel to strong-willed young Shabanu, whose home is the windswept Cholistan Desert of Pakistan. The second daughter in a family with no sons, she's been allowed freedoms forbidden to most Muslim girls. But when a tragic encounter with a wealthy and powerful landowner ruins the marriage plans of her older sister, Shabanu is called upon to…  See more details below


Life is both sweet and cruel to strong-willed young Shabanu, whose home is the windswept Cholistan Desert of Pakistan. The second daughter in a family with no sons, she's been allowed freedoms forbidden to most Muslim girls. But when a tragic encounter with a wealthy and powerful landowner ruins the marriage plans of her older sister, Shabanu is called upon to sacrifice everything she's dreamed of. Should she do what is necessary to uphold her family's honor—or listen to the stirrings of her own heart?

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Shabanu is an unforgettable heroine set like a fine jewel in a wonderfully wrought book.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Staples has accomplished a small miracle in her touching and powerful story.”—The New York Times

“Remarkable . . . a riveting tour de force.”—The Boston Globe

From the Paperback edition.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
PW called this Newbery Honor book about a Pakistani girl a ``thorny, poignant coming-of-age'' novel. ``Staples's depiction of desert life is breathtaking. She employs vivid, lyrical metaphors to create the potency of the family's joys and struggles.'' Ages 12-up. (Oct.)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
There are few who have helped to open a better understanding of women in another culture like Suzanne Staples, who won a 1990 Newbery Honor Medal for Shabanu. Staples, for years a foreign correspondent and news desk editor, has begun a new career as a young adult novelist. Shabanu was born out of Suzanne's own surprise at the life she found while working in Pakistan. "I try to remember about what I thought of Pakistan before I went there. It's an artificial country created when the British were cutting India free, and you don't expect it to have such a rich culture." For Staples, the most precious treasures she found in Pakistan were the stories of the people she met, particularly the women. In the Cholistan desert, she met an eleven-year-old girl, orphaned, intelligent, independent, and confident. She became the inspiration for her heroine Shabanu. There is a study guide available from Learning Links.

Product Details

Random House Children's Books
Publication date:
Edition description:
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Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

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Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 108 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The thing that I like about this book is that anyone who reads it will learn a little more about the Muslim culture. In my opinion, the middle and beginning of the story could be a tad boring because it mainly tells about the future life of a girl and her sister which is about to get married. Then towards the end, more action starts to build and that is the only part where the story gets interesting and exciting. For anyone who would like to read this book, I will warn you something... it contains sexual harrasment and the ending is very sad.
AspiringAuthor More than 1 year ago
Several times in the book I found myself reading passages and then having to reread them because I had gotten bored and didn't even know what it was I had just read. I know Staples claimed to do her research, but it doesn't seem like it to me. There's so much she seems completely unaware of: Islamically, there is no "bride price" (the only bride price there is has to do with the culture of the region, not the actual religion, and nowadays in Pakistan there is very little of this kind), but the dowry is given to the woman by the man she marries, instead of the woman giving the man a dowry (the latter happens in Hindu culture, not Islamic culture) and a marriage cannot take place without the consent of either the man or the woman, so Shabanu's marriage to Rahim could have annulled because it was organized without her consent. Also, Shabanu seems unnaturally obsessed with the physical attributes of men and women both - Islam teaches its followers to be modest (as in, no hip swaying on Phulan's part and clothes that completely cover a woman's body and do not reveal her figure) and for men to lower their eyes in a woman's presence (of course, when the woman is not someone of their immediate family) and for women to do the same in front of men.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i first had to read this book for a school project and i absolutly loved it i was the only person who liked their book. THe seccond is even better Haveli i couldnt pit them down!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book when I was quite a bit younger for a summer reading project, and I loved it. It really opened my eyes to middle eastern culture, and how different things can be half a world away. Shabanu is a very interesting character, and as you read you experience all the heartbreak and happiness she does. I recommend it to any young adult who wants to learn about other cultures. Haveli, the sequel, is a good read also.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the worst book I have ever read. I had to read it for school, and I think certain parts were incredibly inappropriate, especially how Shabanu goes into detail about her breasts, her sister's breasts, and touching herself. The main character was incredibly selfish and constantly crying over foolish things, although there are people in Pakistan with lives so much worse than her's. She was blessed with a family that had money, and didn't abuse her or hate her for being a woman (because families prefer sons). Not to mention, her family was not punished for what Shabanu and Phulan did to the landlord, and Shabanu gets to marry a man who seems truly kind, yet she is still complaining. THIS GIRL NEEDS TO GET OVER HERSELF. Note to author: start writing about real Pakistani problems!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Oka first of all this book is wondefull. I thought it was well written. I usually dont read books like this but this one was actually really good. I have no clue what so ever were people are getting that this book is sexual. maybe one or two things. I too read this book when i was in seventh grade, and this book was definitly age appropriate. Whoever says this book isnt age appropriate must a little too immature for the book.the book is what really is going on over i have to say to all those immature haters GROW UP! and it was a VERY good book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really great book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although the entire book was about a girl that lives in another country, I felt closer to her than anyone else. She could have kept writing though instead of leaving us hanging on for more details and waiting for the end of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For all of you who think that this is not how life is for women and girls in Pakistan, your wrong. Unfortunitly, they are still seen as worthless in society, and are held back from being successful in life and getting an education. It is true though that things are different for women in America. Rules are much less strict, and some women even choose if they want to wear headscarves or not.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought it moved a little too slow but a good read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was very good. It was interesting to read about what life is like for these girls and it made me very grateful about where i lived and the oppurtunities i had.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this novel when I was 14 years old and it has stayed with me for almost 10 years. The journey that this young Muslim girl experiences throughout the novel is captivating. Her spirit was strong and empowering. I will always keep this story close to my heart because it speaks to all nations and races about following your desires through a young innocent Muslim girl.
Ned15 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed it very much
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author should never write another word. It was very boring and slighty gross. Many things about a girls body. Horrible read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ilovenumber7 More than 1 year ago
In third world countries, adults and children are likely to suffer the common cruel poverty that possibly leads to the ruthless cultural restrictions that sometimes are very frightening but of the utmost sacredness to the people. Especially in a strictly religious nation like Pakistan, where almost everyone is a Muslim, people would definitely risk their lives to obey the traditional customs. Shabanu, the narrator who is an 11 year old girl when the book starts, is very fortunate to experience freedom in the Cholistan desert that most girls her age don't have. However, when it comes to the daughter role in the family, Shabanu has to obey everything that her loving Dadi decides, even if it means marrying a man who is old enough to be her grandfather to save her sister's marriage and her family's financial situation. Shabanu is very stubborn and attempts to run away from the situation, but only later finds out that she would cause too much grief along her path of personal freedom. Throughout the book, Shabanu has grown from a young stubborn girl to a young perceptive woman who understands that part of being an adult is to lose her nomadic freedom in the desert, to sacrifice her life for the people she loves, and to not let those who are innocent become involved with her rebellious acts. This is a great novel for anyone who would like to perceive the world in a different way through the strong-willed Shabanu's eyes. It is highly recommended for teenagers and anyone else who is interested in a story of making a crucial decision in life between personal liberty and family's honor. The author has cleverly embedded special native terms so the readers have an exposure to what things would have been called in the real situation. Generally speaking, there isn't anything that the author does to detract from the content of the book. Overall, this novel is quite remarkable because it fully describes the first stage of adolescence, which is often to question how the world works, but unfortunately, Shabanu bitterly finds out that she has no major role in the society because of the gender discriminated society that she is living in. I really enjoyed reading this novel because the author has a great way of writing to attract people and make them want to read more to find out what would happen next to the little girl Shabanu. However, the ending isn't really what I expected it to be, but it is a justifiable ending, which helps people to understand more about Shabanu's individual struggle against society. Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind is a highly recommended book that people should read to open their eyes about another part of the world.
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librachic More than 1 year ago
I had this in my cupboard for a while,well actually a few years so i picked it up as i did not have any thing to read,I discovered that it was a good read with a emotional and intriguing storyline and i felt like twelve again,it also is a coming of age story and by finishing it i realise how different the culture is in the story.
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Quintal More than 1 year ago
Shabanu touches a lot of emotions in the characters and in the reader. The beauty of the desert is combined with the cruelty of a desert life.