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VOYA Review | A Sampling of Afghan and World Music

Booklist Featured Review



Science Fiction Writers of America


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Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators

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To read my interview click here: TEENREADS.COM

Hear me read from Refugees at:
To view Best Book for Teens, '06 list - (Refugees is in the Asia section) - Best Books For The Teen Age, 2006

Write to me at Random House

Download a Random House class study guide for Refugees and see more.
The "refugees" in Stine's powerful first novel for young adults are teens who flee deprivation and conflict as disparate as their countries. Sixteen year-old Dawn is unhappy in California with foster parents Louise and Victor. After Louise leaves for Afghanistan to work as a refugee-camp doctor, Dawn runs away with her best friend, Jude, a gay teen. They land in New York City, and two days later, on September 11, terrorists attack the World Trade Center. Across the world, Afghan teen Johar has escaped his village and found safety in a Pakistani refugee camp, where he lands a job at Louise's clinic. Then Dawn tries to contact Louise, and Johar answers the phone. In phone calls and e-mails, the teens share their stories, and through their love of music and poetry, they help each other find the hope and courage to move forward. In vivid, alternating chapters Stine follows the teens' flights and tense struggles to cope with the tragedies of the attacks, rebuild their families, and discover their own strengths. Not all the characters in the crowded narrative are developed; Victor, in particular, is a puzzling shadow. Still, Stine tells an ambitious, haunting story that asks urgent questions about current conflicts, the human lives behind the headlines, and the healing that must follow. After words about post-9/11 Afghanistan and New York City close this timely, accomplished novel that teachers and teens will want to discuss together.
Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association.
All rights reserved

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VOYA Review (Voice of Youth Advocate)

Dawn has run from a foster home in search of fame as a musician in New York City. Johar has traveled across Afghanistan with his niece in search of a Red Cross camp and refuge from Taliban soldiers looking to force him into their "army." Although Dawn and Johar are separated by thousands of miles, the events of September 11th cause their lives to intersect. Dawn's foster mother is the doctor at the camp where Johar finds a job acting as translator. When Dawn calls to talk to Louise, she makes an important connection to Johar. Each begins to trust the other slowly, revealing feelings they have kept hidden from others in their lives.

The events of September 11th serve almost as a character in this novel that switches focus from Dawn to Johar in alternating chapters. Dawn's visit to New York is affected by the World Trade Center disaster. She takes her flute down to Ground Zero and begins to play as part of the healing process for herself and forthe families of the victims. Johar's world is irrevocably changed as well. Instead of being accepted as a scholar and poet, he is now expected to become a soldier.

Stine makes interesting connections between Dawn and Johar, each a refugee even before the events that led to war. Reader shave the opportunity to learn more about the cultures of both Dawn and Johar. Although the book has an historic incident at its heart, this story is still about finding acceptance and belonging.
Teri S. Lesense
Copyright © VOYA, 2005
All rights reserved

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A Sampling of Afghan and World Music:
  • The Afghan Ensemble: Songs from Afghanistan
    2003 Arc Music Prods Int, Ltd, UK
  • Radio Kaboul: Hommage aux Compositeurs Afghans
    Mahwash, 2003 Accords Croisés, Italy
  • RaRe Elements, Usted Sultan Khan
    5 Points Records
  • Kali Thunder (UK's Hottest Djs), 2001 New Earth Records
  • Bhangra: One Way Ticket to British Asia, 2000, World Music Network
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