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Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind (Readers Circle) Mass Market Paperback – August 12, 2003

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Series: Readers Circle
  • Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf (August 12, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440238560
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440238560
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (239 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,145 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Staples's first book is a beautiful portrayal of the life of a girl growing up among camel-dealing nomads in modern Pakistan. Shabanu knows the way her people, the Cholistanis, have always lived: a daughter abides by her father's decisions, a wife obeys her husband's wishes. Yet Shabanu is strong-willed and independent, and her mother warns, "Shabanu, you are wild as the wind. You must learn to obey. Otherwise . . . I am afraid for you." As the arranged marriage of Shabanu's sister Phulan approaches, and with her own wedding planned for the following year, Shabanu confronts her fear and apprehension. She scarcely knows the man she is expected to wed. What if she does not obey? Before the ceremonies take place, however, disaster strikes. Shabanu and Phulan, out alone and threatened with rape by a powerful local landowner, escape but humiliate him. In revenge, he kills Phulan's betrothed and threatens to cut off the family's water supply. As one condition for restoring peace, Shabanu must marry the landlord's older brother. With the help of a wise, loving aunt, Shabanu learns to curb and conceal her powerful will and channel it to bring her peace of mind. Staples's depiction of desert life is breathtaking. She employs vivid, lyrical metaphors to create the potency of the family's joys and struggles. Shabanu's thorny, poignant coming-of-age will capture the attention of readers young and old. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Shabanu is an unforgettable heroine set like a fine jewel in a wonderfully wrought book.”—Kirkus Reviews, Starred

“Staples has accomplished a small miracle in her touching and powerful story.”—The New York Times

“Remarkable . . . a riveting tour de force.”—The Boston Globe

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Customer Reviews

By the end of the book, I was in tears.
It has a few parts that catch your attention a little, but mostly she just talks about the camels and water and making food and planning her sister's wedding.
This book is a must for all kids 12 and up, but I would highly recommend in depth discussion with the younger age group.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 29 people found the following review helpful By NY film buff on August 17, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This sensitively-written, bittersweet coming-of-age story is set in the Cholistan desert of present day Pakistan. Shabanu, the second daughter in a family of camel-herding nomads, is forced to curb her independent spirit and adopt the traditional Muslim tenets of behavior practiced by her people, yet her family is also warm, protective, and deeply loving. At the age of twelve Shabanu is already engaged to be married to a young cousin she barely knows, but during a visit to the farmlands on the edge of the desert, where her older sister's wedding is about to be held, a violent event shatters the prospects of the whole family. Problems are resolved, but with one tragic result: Shabanu's parents must terminate the engagement to her cousin and promise her to a landowner old enough to be her father. In the end, Shabanu draws on reserves of inner strength to come to a decision about her future. The conclusion leaves the door open for a sequel (the equally moving "Haveli," written in the third person rather than the first person narration of "Shabanu"). This novel, which is now required reading in some middle school humanities classes, is educational and enjoyable, with subject matter suitable for readers 11 and up. (Some references to child marriage and sexuality may be difficult for younger readers to understand.) The characters of Shabanu's parents and other relatives are richly drawn, with an avoidance of the stereotyping often applied to Muslims and traditional Islam.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on September 17, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I imagine that had I been assigned "Shabanu" in school (say, Junior High or High School) I would have loathed it intensely. Please don't misunderstand this statement. Having read this book on my own I've found it to be infinitely interesting, deep, and touching. Author Suzanne Fisher Staples has written a book that every kid should WANT to read. The problem is, if a child does not want to read it, this book must be incredibly painful to get through. At its best "Shabanu" conjures up a world that few Americans have ever witnessed firsthand. If you think you know an adolescent that could understand "Shabanu"'s understated beauty, definitely consider buying it for them. But please don't make this book required reading. Forcing people to read this tale is the perfect way to make it widely despised.

In the Cholistan Desert of Pakistan lives a family of desert dwellers. Daughters Phulan and Shabanu attend their family's camels alongside their father, mother, grandfather, aunt, and young male cousins. Life in the desert can be difficult, but Shabanu wouldn't have it any other way. She loves tending the camels alongside her father. With her older sister's impending marriage coming up, Shabanu knows that soon her little family will be torn apart. Most of the book concentrates on what it means to live in the Cholistan, often at the mercy of the duststorms and monsoons that help or hurt the region. It isn't until page 191 that the real drama of the book comes into play. When a tragedy hurts Phulan's potential husband, it's up to Shabanu to sacrifice herself for the good of the family. The question becomes, will she do it?

First of all, in spite of its Newbery Honor Award, this book probably should have received a Printz Award instead for young adult literature.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 1, 1998
Format: Turtleback
11-year old Shabanu is the youngest child in her family living in the Cholistan desert in Pakistan. She has a difficult life, and she is forced to marry as soon as she becomes a woman. Her life changes forever when she is forced to marry a 55 year old man! This book describes the lifestyle of a young girl growing up in Pakistan. The characters are well developed and the story line is full of excitement and adventure. The different culture in this book is a good thing for young people to learn about. It has happy parts and sad parts, and put together, it makes a excellent book. I think that this book is more suitable for mature readers, as a lot of people at this site gave it two stars or less. I personally think it is one of the best books I have read, and I think it well deserved the Newbery Honor. Now I'm going to read the sequel!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on June 15, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I would like to caution any parents getting this book for their children that its not appropriate for children under 10 for comments on womens menstration cycle and chests. Now that thats out of the way I would like to say I LOVED THIS BOOK. To all of you saying that this book is inappropriate you're wrong. I learned a lot from this book which is why I liked it so much. This book was very upfront and easy to understand. My favorite scene had to be the scene where Shabanu and Phulan first see Nazir Mohamed because of Shabanu's actions to protect her sister. This book was great and I am in the process of reading the sequal,Haveli,which I have found very interesting. I hope that you have read everything I have written and that you enjoy this book.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Anne Marie Parris on August 25, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
...I read this book a little over a year ago and i fell in love with it. I have read it to pieces and have bought 3 new compies in the past year. This book happens to be very adventurous and awe inspiring. Its about a musilm girl, Shabanu, who is 11 at the beginning of her story. She and her sister Phulan , 13, live in the Cholistian Desert along th Border of Pacistan with the mother, father, , grandfather, aunt, and younger cousins as camel "farmers". They live in anyplace in the desert that happend to have water untill the monsoons come. Shabanu is interested in everything except "ladies" work. She and her sister are betrothed to thier cousins Murad and Hamir. But when her Mother tries to teach Shabanu womens work, Shabanu's sister catches on but Shabanu has more fun playing with the camels and running around in the beautiful desert sand. When a something tragic happens between her family and her landowner, her family is put with a desicion that will change evrything in everyones life. Shabanu, daughter of the wind, is one of the best books i've ever read .... I feel at least evryone who loves an uplifting, tear jerker will love this book and its sequal, Havali. Suzanne Fisher Stapeles happens to be a wonderful author. i love her other book Shiva's fire. All her stories and books are very uplifing and make you feel godd when you read them. YOU REALLY SHOULD READ THIS!!! thank you.
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