Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

Seven Daughters and Seven Sons

by Barbara Cohen, Bahija Lovejoy


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Seven Daughters and Seven Sons by Barbara Cohen, Bahija Lovejoy

In an ancient Arab nation, one woman dares to be different.Buran cannot — Buran will not-sit quietly at home and wait to be married to the man her father chooses. Determined to use her skills and earn a fortune, she instead disguises herself as a boy and travels by camel caravan to a distant city. There, she maintains her masculine disguise and establishes a successful business. The city's crown prince comes often to her shop, and soon Buran finds herself falling in love. But if she reveals to Mahmud that she is a woman, she will lose everything she has worked for.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780688135638
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/19/1994
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 556,175
Product dimensions: 4.12(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.56(d)
Lexile: 800L (what's this?)
Age Range: 13 - 14 Years

About the Author

Barbara Cohen (1932-1992) was the author of several acclaimed picture books and novels for young readers, including The Carp in the Bathtub, Yussel's Prayer: A Yom Kippur Story, Thank You, Jackie Robinson, and King of the Seventh Grade.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I am Buran, daughter of Malik, and the fourth of the seven female children born to him, and to his wife of holy memory, my mother, Zubaydah. My father was called Abu al-Banat, the father of daughters, and the title was not considered an honorable one. Allah bad not seen fit to bless him with sons, and all that happened afterwards stemmed from that fact. O my children, the ways of Allah are beyond human understanding. What we imagine to be a blessing can actually be a curse, and what we suppose to be a curse may blossom into a blessing.

The marvelous chain of events about which I will tell you began one evening as I sat in the courtyard with my father, playing chess.

It was spring. The scent of jasmine hung thick in the air. As we moved first one piece and then another, the pale light died away. The moon had not yet risen. The wooden shutters on the windows of our little house of baked bricks had been removed, and the light from the oil lamps inside made bright squares on the ground. But our board was too far from the windows to catch the light, and in time it grew too dark to see the chessmen.

With his hand, my father swept the pieces aside. "That's enough of that," he said. "O my daughter, I declare you the winner."

"But Father," I assured him, I wasn't even close to putting your king in check."

My father laughed. "Six moves more, seven moves more, what difference does it make? Sooner or later you would have checked my king, and mated my king, just as you always do. It was a dark day for me when I taught you this foolish game. Your mother scolded me. She said your time would be better spent with your needle or yourloom than in learning men's amusements." He sighed, a vast mock sigh. "Ah me. I should have listened to your mother."

"O my father," I murmured, "I'm glad you didn't." I knew he was glad too. He loved to play chess; it was a precious distraction from his daily struggle to support our crowded household. Since he had no sons, he had been forced to teach the game to one of his daughters, if he was to play it at all, for he had neither the time nor the money to gamble with other men in the shops of the suqs. I, Buran, was the one he had chosen. Perhaps he chose me because I was so clumsy at all the tasks my mother set me around the house that he felt it was I she could best spare. Or perhaps he chose me because I was the one who wanted with all my heart to learn.

I knelt on the ground to pick up the scattered pieces. In the street beyond our wall I could bear voices and the sound of footsteps echoing in the night. The footsteps halted at our gate, and through the wooden slats I caught a glimpse of lantern light and the whirl of two or three striped jubbas fashioned of fine linen. Even before my father spoke, I knew who had stopped at our house.

"Go indoors," my father ordered. "Tell your mother to prepare a drink of yogurt. Your uncle and some of his sons have come to call on me," he added with a sigh. It was a real sigh this time.

Our house was small. It was necessary for my father to detain my uncle and cousins in our courtyard while my mother prepared the drink and laid out a few sweetmeats. "A paltry display," she complained, "but it's the best I can do. It's all we have." I knew that was true. "Your uncle is unbelievably thoughtless to call on his brother here at home," my mother continued crossly. "He knows we can't afford to entertain him properly. Why didn't he go to see your father in the shop, the way he usually does?"

When the food was laid out, she, my sisters, and I withdrew to the other room. My sisters were soon busy with their sewing and their embroidering, their spinning and their gossiping, though what they found to talk about so endlessly when they went nowhere and saw no one was beyond my comprehension. Still, I envied them, for they never seemed to be afflicted with the fits of melancholy that overcame me when I wondered what would become of them, what would become of me, what would become of all of us. "Allah will provide," they always said. "Allah will provide." And then they would go on with their ceaseless stitching, their endless chatter. They were content to be just what they were. There were times when I longed to jump right out of my skin and into someone else's, like: my cousin Hassan's, or my cousin Ali's. It was they who had conic to call on my father, along with my: uncle.

I stood by the curtained doorway and listened to the conversation between my father, his brother, and my two oldest cousins. It was wrong to listen, my two oldest cousins. It was wrong to listen, but I'd always done it; and so accustomed were my mother and my sisters to this habitof mine, that they'd long ago stopped scolding me for it. I think they were rather glad I listened because then I could tell them all that bad been said. That is, I told my sisters. My father told my mother.

"Your visit does honor to my poor home," I heard my father intone politely as be escorted his brother and his nephews out of the courtyard, through the arched hall or iwan, and into the main room of the house.

"Well, there's a reason for it, O father of girls,"

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Seven Daughters and Seven Sons 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Hamburgerclan on LibraryThing 7 days ago
This is the second romance novel I've read in as many weeks! What's happening to me?? Actually this book, from my daughter's schoolbooks, is an expanded version of an old Iraqi folktale. Buran is a daughter of Malik, a poor shopkeeper who has the burden of seven daughters and no sons. His brother, in contrast, is quite wealthy and has seven sons. The rich brother is a real jerk and likes to rub Malik's nose in his "affliction". (As opposed to, say, giving his ol' bro some cash or something.) What neither man takes into account, however, is Buran's cleverness. Since she lives in the male dominated Arabic culture, she disguises herself as a man and travels to a distant city to try and make her fortune and provide money for her parents and sisters. I don't think I'm spoiling the story too much to tell you she has some success at it. What makes me want to steal this book from my daughter is the way Ms. Cohen and Ms. Lovejoy flesh out the folktale and make the characters three dimensional. Well, maybe two and a half. Either way, it's good.--J.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
grisaille More than 1 year ago
I first read Cohen's book when I was in junior high, and *loved* it. It fell out of print shortly thereafter, and I'm so glad to finally have a copy. Buran is a great character, full of strength and determination and wit, but also doubt. I like her family, too, who are frightened but supportive of her unorthodox strategy to provide for them. I hope more such Middle Eastern fables are retold and made available to people outside that region.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this a long time ago when I was much younger. As I grew up in Iran, I found it to be powerful beyond my young mind. It is a great story of independence, bravery, the power of a true heart and the tale of faith. Even though this book describes the ancient times, it has lessons that can be truly used throughout time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just loved this book. I just read it in two days. And today I finished it. The lesson of the story is through hard work and determination, you can do anything you set your mind too. Also Buran tought people that women can do just as much as a man. In the end she got both things she wanted. Her true love and wealth for her family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book. I thought it a good romance book. And i loved the surprise ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book! It's about a girl that dresses up as a man and goes to a big city to make money. She gets really rich, but by then she has already fallen in love with the prince, but he thinks she's a man. She fleas and goes back to her home. He finds her though, and the ending in really romantic. It's great! It's not just a love story, it's the story of a girl who tells the whole world that she can do just as much as a man can.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this book! It is so well written, it kept me reading till the end (which is a really good ending by the way). I love Arabian syle stories, I wish there were more out there for teens to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel was excellent. From the first day I read it, I still couldn't put it down.It was an inspirational story filled with courage, love, and sweet, juicy, REVENGE! All will love and apppreciate this novel, it shows how with sheer determination and will, you can do anything anyone can!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I picked up this book I didn't expect anything remarkable, but it is such a good book and a favorite of mine. You wouldn't expect a girl in the Middle East to have power and everybody being all right about it. It's also a good book about exacting revenge.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book brings the ancient times and tales to life for me. It is a wonderful story with a good plot, interesting twists, and a good ending. I love the character, Buran, because unlike most characters these days she's full of qualities that count, and has a sharp and witty personality that really appeals to just about anyone. My sister and I have read this soooooo much that we need a new one
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book ROX! If u can read it, do! I don't say to many books are my favorite, but this one is. It is a book about the courage of one girl to take her destiny into her own hands. She travels to another city to become rich to help her family. I don't want to spoil your fun by telling you the ending (I know that sounds like everyone else, but its sooooo true!).
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book shows gilrs that you can do anyting you put your mind to and that whatever boys can do girls can do just as well!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Buran is the 4th daughter of a poor merchant. She has 6 sisters, who need dowries for marriages,and no brothers to help provide. On the other hand, her wealthy uncle has 7 sons, who all plan to travel the country making their own fortunes. When Bulan's father offers her hand in marriage to her eldest cousin, Hassan, Hassan refuses the proposal, saying that Bulan is the ugliest of all her sisters, and comes from a poor family beneath his status. Bulan, the cleverest, and most intelligent of the 7 daughters, comes up with an idea. She will expand her father's business, and increse his fortune 10 fold...the only problem with this is that Bulan will be in a far away country, disguised as a boy. Though at first skeptical, Bulan's father finally relents and lets her leave, in boys clothing. As Bulan travels she becomes acquainted with a rich business man, who shows her how to run a sucessful business. After being in the rich man's company Bulan comes up with a product that just may sell, and increse her family's fortune. But, just when Bulan thinks that all of her problems are solved, she meets someone who makes her question whether being a boy has more advantages than a girl. Seven Daughters, Seven Sons is a retold folktale, mixed with romance, adventure, sweet revenge, and a happy ending.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a realy good book. Highly recommended to non fiction book lovers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this is one of the best books ever. It is something about this book that spook to me. Although I knew what happened at the end of the book I couldn't put it down. If you are looking for a book about love, courage, honor, and adventure you must read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I would definitely reccommend this book. It was exciting and suspenseful. If you are looking for a good book to read you should choose this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book, because it showed how one girl change the fate of her poor family. It also showed that not all of the fathers from this area of the world are cruel and forcing their daughters into arranged marriages.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like Shaherazad, Buran is a woman of exceeding cleverness. If you are a young person with a need for traditional tales and arabian wit or just an oldster like me, who enjoys a good tale of love and the importance of being one's self, I would recommend this book to you. It is a wonderful book to read aloud. Nonsensationalistic and just good story telling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was NOT 'highly romantic' nor 'riveting' as the reviews imply. This book was a HUGE disappointment!