Shooting Kabul

Fadi never imagined he’d start middle school in Fremont, California, thousands of miles away from home in Kabul.  But, here he was, half a world apart from his missing six year old sister who’d been lost because of him, as they’d fled Afghanistan. Adjusting to life in the United States isn’t easy for Fadi’s family and as the events of September 11th unfold, the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim — impossible. Desperate, Fadi tries every hare-brained scheme he can think of to find her. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister.  But can one photo really bring Mariam home?

Based in part on Ms. Senzai’s husband’s experience fleeing Soviet controlled Afghanistan in 1979, Shooting Kabul is a powerful story of hope, love, and perseverance.

Awards & Recognition

  • NPR’s Backseat Book Club February 2012 Pic
  • Massachusetts Children’s Book Award Nominee 2012-201
  • South Carolina Association of School Librarians Junior Book Award Nominee 2012-201
  • Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers Book List Award Nominee 201
  • Garden State Teen Book Award Nominee 201
  • 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award (APALA) for Young Adult Literatur
  • 2010 Middle East Book Award (MEOC) for Youth Literatur
  • CBC/NCSS Notable Children’s Book in Social Studie
  • Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, 2011 editio
  • Northern California Children’s Book of the Year Nominatio
  • International Reading Association’s Teachers Choice Award 201
  • Pennsylvania School Librarian’s Association’s YA Top 40 201
  • 100 Magnificent Children’s Books of 2010 Fuse #8 Productio
  • Cybil Award for Middle Grade Nomination 2010

    "Senzai (Ticket to India, 2015, etc.) tells the story of 14-year-old Nadia's narrow escape from the ancient city of Aleppo in war-torn Syria as she desperately seeks her family, who accidentally left her behind.Two years into Syria's civil war, the many armed rebel groups and the government forces are descending on Aleppo. Traumatized since her bomb injury, Nadia is pulled from under her bed as her family prepares to leave their home for a safer place. Although a relative has been assigned to monitor her, another bomb falls as they are exiting, and in the confusion, Nadia is left behind. Now she must recover from the shock and rely on her instincts, a seemingly kind old man she meets, and, ultimately, her own intelligence to make it out of Aleppo alive and find her family at the Turkish border. . . . [A] valuable introduction to the issues plaguing modern Syria and the costs of war in historically rich locales."

    - Kirkus


    "Filled with kindness and hope, but also with the harsh realities of the horrors of war, this heartbreaking book is a necessary reminder of what many people live through every day."

    - Booklist

    "The representation of a young protagonist from Syria makes this a solid purchase for middle grade collections."

    – School Library Journal

    "Senzai (Ticket to India) crafts a harrowing novel about a 14-year-old girl’s flight from war-torn Syria in 2013 that captures the reality of the conflict while illuminating the culture and history of the country. . . . [T]he novel’s taut pacing and memorable heroine result in a gripping and intense story of the traumas inflicted on Syria’s citizens."

    - Publishers Weekly