Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

A Girl Named Disaster Hardcover – September 1, 1996

4.2 out of 5 stars 132 customer reviews

See all 21 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
"Please retry"
Hardcover, September 1, 1996
$4.75 $0.01

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Farmer (The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm; The Warm Place, see p. 84) returns to Africa for the setting of this gripping adventure, equally a survival story and a spiritual voyage. When cholera decimates a village in Mozambique, a muvuki (traditional healer) identifies the cause of the illness as the work of an ngozi (avenging spirit) who had been slain by the orphan Nhamo's father. The muvuki decrees that Nhamo must marry the ngozi's surviving brother-a diseased and brutal man. Urged by her grandmother, Nhamo runs away, in hopes of finding her father's family in Zimbabwe. The two- or three-day boat trip, however, turns into a months-long odyssey through wilderness, where Nhamo must call upon all the skills she has ever learned in order to stay alive. Farmer overlays this suspenseful tale with a rich and respectful appreciation of Nhamo's beliefs. Without slowing the pace or changing her tone, she interpolates folktales that illuminate Shona culture; she also casts Nhamo's ordeal in terms of the spirit world, so that Nhamo confronts not just wild animals but witches, and communes not just with memories but with ancestral spirits. Nhamo herself is a stunning creation-while she serves as a fictional ambassador from a foreign culture, she is supremely human. An unforgettable work. Ages 11-up.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 6-9?For Nhamo, an 11-year-old Shona girl living in Mozambique in 1981, life is filled with the traditions of her village people. When family circumstances, a ngozi (angry spirit), and a cholera epidemic force her into a horrible marriage, she flees with only her grandmother's blessings, some gold nuggets, and many survival skills. Still, what should have been a two-day boat trip across the border to her father's family in Zimbabwe spans a year. Daily conversations with spirits help to combat her loneliness and provide her with sage and practical advice. The most incredible leg of her journey is spent on an island where Nhamo closely observes and is warily accepted by a baboon family only to have one of them destroy her shelter and food supply. She makes mistakes, loses heart, and nearly dies of starvation. Even after she arrives in Zimbabwe where she lives with scientists before meeting her father's family, Nhamo must learn to survive in civilization and exorcise the demons that haunt her. A cast of characters, glossary, background information on South Africa and the Shona, and a bibliography ground this novel's details and culture. This story is humorous and heartwrenching, complex and multilayered, and the fortunate child who reads it will place Nhamo alongside Zia (Island of the Dolphins) and Julie (Julie of the Wolves). An engrossing and memorable saga.?Susan Pine, New York Public Library
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books (September 1, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0531095398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0531095393
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (132 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,893,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By S. Silverman on March 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The middle of Farmer's three Newbery Honor books of the last decade, this is different, being historical fiction adventure to the other two's science fiction. Like The Ear, The Eye, and The Arm, this takes place in Africa, giving it an exotic touch. Nhamo (Disaster in her native Shona language) is an orphan of sorts, with a deceased mother and absent father, living traditionally in a tribal village in southern Africa. Through circumstances beyond her own making, she is put in a position of fleeing her home, a not uncommon Newbery theme (see Crispin The Cross of Lead) For this reader, she partakes in the adventure of a strong, bright, observant, resourceful girl/young woman reminding me of Miyax (Julie of the Wolves), Omakayas (The Birchbark House) and Karana (Island of the Blue Dolphins), high company, indeed. Nhamo leads a fascinating life, both in the village and after leaving it, including spending significant amounts of time fending for herself. This is thoroughly enjoyable on many counts, the intriguing cultures, countrysides, and relationships, some touches of spiritualism, the ideas of how to maintain oneself emotionally and physically when isolated, the ideas of perseverance in the face of what appear to be insurmountable obstacles, and flexibility and teaching oneself what's necessary when it's necessary. Well suited for secondary grades, a very strong reading fifth or sixth grader could enjoy it, too.
Comment 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I read this book out of curiosity; having read the author's other outstanding books such as "House of the Scorpion" and "The Sea of Trolls". I must say that I'm truly enchanted and my perspective with other culture was enriched upon finishing the book. It is a commitment to read the said novel; one must be willing to explore Zimbabwe's and Mozambique's folklore and ethnography. But with the craftsmanship of Nancy Farmer's storytelling, reading the book will not be a chore. And it's not "cheap thrill" too. I'm glad, authors like Farmer really do the task of painstaking research. Now I know her style/poetics--(1) use of folklore like songs, epics, tales, superstitions, (2) re-creating a cosmology, (3) use of mythic/physical/metaphorical journey to highlight the hero's/ heroine's coming-of-age, (4) heroism of the character like exploring his or her talents and capabilities; the search for his/her roots; and the struggle for a better situation in a fictional/ metaphorical society; (5) use of short but vivid chapters to make the seemingly epic novel readable for young readers. Nancy Farmer respects the kids by not "writing down" to them. Also, with her splendid prose, she truly loved her craft and her audience. Bravo!
Comment 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
A Kid's Review on March 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer, Puffin Publishing co.

"The journey will be the hardest thing you'll ever do, but it will be worth it", her grandmother said. When a Shona girl named Nhamo is forced into an arranged marriage to save her village in Southern Africa, her grandmother thinks the opposite. Grandmother tells her to runaway from Mozambique to Zimbabwe, to find her father and be safe. After going countless days all alone on a lake she comes across an inhabited island with baboons. After resting , she finds Zimbabwe and a few other friends. A scary part in the book is when Nhamo gets possessed by a witch. That is part of the rising action and leads to the conclusion.

Nhamo and Ambuya (Nhamo's grandmother), Mastiva and Nhamo mother are the main characters in this book. To describe Nhamo, she was quiet and obedient. She got bossed around by her aunt and other women in the village. Most of the work around the village was done by Nhamo with rarely any help. She liked hiding away and not being found when her aunt sent her to get wood. As Nhamo goes on to Zimbabwe, she gains muscle and becomes brave. Ambuya is a strong, wise village elder. Nhamo is one of Ambuya's favorites. Ambuya enjoys telling folk tales and is good at giving advice. Mastiva is Nhamo's cousin and gets to sit all day and do nothing while Nhamo has to do all the work. The reason why Mastiva doesn't have to do work is because Mastiva's mother holds a grudge at Nhamo's Mother who is dead. Nhamo is important to this story because she's the strongest. She is the main character because she goes through the most and learns very quickly.

Yes, I would recommend this book to girls age 12-16, because I learned a lot from it. It made me think about what I would do in Nhamo' situation.
Read more ›
Comment 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
The name of my favorite book is "A Girl Named Disaster." I thought that this book should receive a five star rating because it was so dramatic, dangerous, and also very sad. I thought this book is an all-around good book and I wish I had a copy of it. There were very few things I disliked about this book. However, it was very emotional, there were parts I didn't understand, but other than that it was a very good and detailed book. A young girl named Nhamo's, mother was killed when Nhamo was a baby by a leopard and her father had killed someone and left Nhamo with her aunts, Aunt Chipo and Aunt Shuvai. A disease starts to kill people in her village so they go to this man her cousin is supposed to gett married to and he told them that Nhamo was the cause and that she was a witch.When they got back to their village the wedding was a few days later and her Grandmother helped her escape in Crocidile Guts boat. Nhamo meets a lot of animals on her journey but the rest you have to read for yourself. I think people with an average reading level should read this because it is hard to understand and has hard words in it, but other than that I think anyone that likes dangerous, and action filled books should read this great book.
Comment 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: children's classics