Shooting Kabul by N.R. Senzai

Escaping from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan in the summer of 2001, eleven-year-old Fadi and his family immigrate to the San Francisco Bay Area, where Fadi schemes to return to the Pakistani refugee camp where his little sister was accidentally left behind.

Use this post to begin the discussion about Shooting Kabul.

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17 Responses to “Shooting Kabul by N.R. Senzai”


  1. 1 Mikaela K. May 1, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    The story “Shooting Kabul” addresses many sensitive issues such as 9/11, the war on terror and, Afghan and Islam culture and politics. In the author’s note in the back of the book, she even mentioned that she did not want to write this book, but the story kept nudging her in the back of her mind and so she finally wrote it. The story brings us into the lives of families escaping Afghanistan and the Taliban’s control while trying to start a new life in America. When the families new life is shattered by the events of 9/11, we get a unique and eye-opening perspective from the eyes of someone of this race and culture. To our generation, the events of 9/11 hold vivid, emotional, and personal memories. But the generations of today’s classroom have less and less of a connection to this event. It’s hard to believe that it is becoming just another event in the history textbooks. The book Shooting Kabul offers exposure and insight into this event for students who have little knowledge on what happened. How else can we teach about this sensitive yet highly important event in our classrooms, especially when our classroom are more than likely to be full of students of different cultures and ethnicities? It is a touchy subject for sure.

    • 2 paytonsaxton May 3, 2015 at 12:21 am

      I agree 9/11 is history that everyone should know about. 9/11 happened when I was in second grade and I can vividly remember sitting in my classroom and my teacher walking next door to another teacher and both of them just crying. I think my generation is probably the last to remember the event so it is harder for younger generations to make the connection to an event they were not alive for or too young to remember. However, there are a lot of events that we weren’t alive for but we still are able to learn and sympathize. For example the holacaust, I’ve read books and seems pictures of this and although I wasn’t there when it happened I can connect to it. I think as educators we just need to provide our students with quality literature on 9/11 as well as pictures, newspaper articles. Anything we can to help them make a connection with such a historical event.

    • 3 Nicole Herrin May 3, 2015 at 4:37 pm

      Mikaela,
      This sounds like a very interesting book to read, I might just have to go find out more about it. By your descriptions, it sounds to be a great alternate perspective of the 9/11 events. I think this would be a great addition to a classroom as a way to show different cultures and perspectives. It is a little weird how the students we will be teaching will have little to no connection about 9/11 since they were not alive, yet it was such a big part of our schooling/growing up. None the less I think our connection and books like these would be great building blocks to educate the students about the events.

      • 4 Alexis Herbert December 1, 2015 at 7:21 pm

        Yes, this book is great because students now have very little knowledge of what 9/11 is or the events that followed it, and when they do learn about it, it is from the perspective of Americans who lived through it and were affected by it. This book is great for allowing students to understand and learn about how it must of felt from the other side and looking at families who were trying to leave Afghanistan and that life and the affects that 9/11 had for them

    • 5 Elizabeth C. May 4, 2015 at 11:17 pm

      Mikaela from the description of the book, it makes me want to read the book. I was not living in the United States at the time of 9/11, so I really had no idea what was going on at the time. To hear about how tragic the event was, it breaks my heart for the people who went through it. I think that students need to be aware of the events in 9/11 because there were some big changes in laws that happened because of it. Also, I think that students should be able to see a different perspective because we want our kids to be open minded and in order to do that, they need to have that other perspective.

    • 6 Brittany S. May 5, 2015 at 2:08 pm

      This would be great read for a classroom. I think that since we lived through and experienced 9/11 we can put our own stories into the classroom as well. I think that students learn better through social interaction. By discussing my own experiences from 9/11 and reading this book the students can relate to it. History is one of my least favorite subjects, but as I read books in this class I was actually learning more than I think I did through a text books. Books about life experiences are what keeps our history from disappearing, and it is important to influence students to read these types of books.

      • 7 Danielle Strauss December 4, 2015 at 1:34 am

        I agree with you Brittany, it is easier for students to learn through social interaction. It is also easier for students to read books when it relates to life experiences because they can put themselves in the character’s shoes. A lot of students have different backgrounds can share their stories of historical events and can share what their families have shared with them about 9/11.

    • 8 Hannah Cohan May 5, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      Mikaela,
      I agree with you that it is important to keep talking about this event, as it impacted so many lives. Since teachers experienced this event, it’s great that they can provide context for students and can explain it with their own experiences along with this book to make it real. It’s great that books can make events as awful as 9/11 accessible for children in language they can understand. Empathy is a great lesson, and this book sounds like it does a great job of allowing it.

    • 9 Robert Sorrells July 16, 2015 at 5:15 pm

      I love the idea of using this book in the classroom to not only teach about 9/11 but also to have students gain the understanding of different cultures and situations that they have to face on a daily basis. It would be interesting to have student talk about problems that they have to face and compare it to Fadi’s life. Even better than that, have the students read the Diary of Ann Frank along with this book and have them talk about the similarities in these two children’s lives or comparing Ann Frank to Fadi’s sister.

  2. 10 childrenslitblog May 2, 2015 at 10:04 pm

    I remember an interesting Book Talk on npr awhile ago comparing themes in Shooting Kabul with an unlikely children’s book from the 1949’s. It is The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes. You can check it out at:
    http://www.npr.org/2012/01/26/145841795/kids-book-club-shooting-kabul-and-the-hundred-dresses

  3. 11 paytonsaxton May 3, 2015 at 12:30 am

    I agree 9/11 is history that everyone should know about. 9/11 happened when I was in second grade and I can vividly remember sitting in my classroom and my teacher walking next door to another teacher and both of them just crying. I think my generation is probably the last to remember the event so it is harder for younger generations to make the connection to an event they were not alive for or too young to remember. However, there are a lot of events that we weren’t alive for but we still are able to learn and sympathize. For example the holacaust, I’ve read books and seems pictures of this and although I wasn’t there when it happened I can connect to it. I think as educators we just need to provide our students with quality literature on 9/11 as well as pictures, newspaper articles. Anything we can to help them make a connection with such a historical event.

  4. 13 Alia Otwell May 5, 2015 at 1:19 am

    Though I haven’t read this book, I can tell from Mikaela’s description that it seems like something that would fit right in a classroom. This will be an event in history we may eventually have to teach, so this is a great resource to keep in mind. 9/11 was a devastating time in American history and we may not think about the effects of this event on Islamic Americans. We could use this point of view to teach about equality, unity, and diversity among our country.

  5. 14 Ashley Daniels May 10, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    This book seems like it would be an interesting book to read in my free time. It would be interesting to see the event of 9/11 through the eyes of someone who is from Afghanistan.
    Although the events of 9/11 is a touchy subject to teach in a classroom, I think as teachers, we should talk about the longlasting effect it has had on America. The could talk about how it brought our nation together and made us stronger.

  6. 15 Brooke Salisbury May 12, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    This story seems like an interesting book to read and discuss about. Being that many of us had to live through the tragic time of 9/11 I feel that this story would be a great way to introduce the topic. When we become teachers and have our own classrooms we will be teaching students who have no clue what we are talking about when we say the tragic event of 9/11. This story would be a great way to show them how just one tragic event can cause years and years of trouble and heartache. Even though the students would not have been here during this tragic time, it is still a part of our history of the United States and need to be aware of the events and everything that changed due to it.

  7. 16 Robert Sorrells July 16, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    While I will admit that the events of 9/11 had a major rule in the telling of this story, I don’t feel that it was the most important. Truthfully, you could have put this story in any time frame during any war and after a few changes it would be believable. I think the beauty of this story is the idea of an immigrant family escaping a war torn country and running for their lives. Then add the twist of leaving a helpless child all alone in said country by themselves. This is every parents nightmare, and to know that they were helpless and unable to get back to the country to find her. While the story was focused on Fadi and the guilt that he felt, as the reader you were able to understand that every family member felt guilty for what had happened. I felt that this story had so much more to offer the reader than just an insight into life of a Muslim during 9/11. Yes I know that this is why the author wrote it, but it really transcends just that one event in history. It gives the reader an insight into the life of any refugee who is escaping any type of war.

    • 17 Alexis Herbert December 1, 2015 at 7:17 pm

      I conpletely agree with you that this story can have such a deeper meaning for students past just 9/11. While 9/11 is the focus for this story, it can be related to any immigrant family, especially immigrants leaving countries affected by war. This is especially relatable with the current events happening today. This story is ideal for teaching students about historical events, such as 9/11, and even current events, like the Syrian refugees. This book allows students to see what its like from the perspective of an immigrant family and the struggles they go through.


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