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Naveed’s father was killed by a suicide bomber. He is now the man of the family. His sister Anoosheh is without legs due to a hidden mine, but is a happy, confident child. Survival is the goal of each day for the two children and their mother. The story follows their daily life and fight for survival against all odds.
John Heffernan is in the perfect position to give us a realistic view of Afghanistan, as it is a place close to his heart, having travelled there several times before the war. This gifted writer has opened up a window into the suffering of this nation. He concentrates on the effects of war on children; their resilience, resourcefulness, courage, determination and optimism to survive regardless of all the difficulties they face. This battle for survival takes place against a background of thriving warlords and drug dealers, the Taliban, and others that seek to become wealthy off the back of the poor.
The two sides of the foreign powers stationed in Afghanistan are well portrayed. There are also several excellent sub-stories weaving in and out of the main one that create additional tension in an already edge-of-your seat read.
At times confronting, always with strong themes and issues propelling it, this powerful and deeply moving story of life in a conflict zone is a must read. It brought tears to my eyes and kept me stuck to my seat with all my senses engaged. The war in Afghanistan was right in my face. Heffernan’s perfectly crafted storyline and his perceptive and insightful narrative has created a fantastic piece of fiction not to be missed.
The fourth book in this series, Emilio, will be out in June. Look out for it.
A portion of proceeds from sales of the Through My Eyes books is donated to UNICEF. You can find a video of John Heffernan talking about Naveed here and there are teachers' notes available at the Through My Eyes website.
Title: Through My Eyes: Naveed
Author: John Heffernan
Publisher: Allen& Unwin, $15.99 RRP
Publication Date: February 26, 2014
For ages: 12+
Type: Middle Fiction, Young Adult Fiction