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Spirit of a Mountain Wolf Hardcover – January, 2014
“Watch your back.” “Do what you’re told.” “Work hard and you’ll stay alive.” These warnings consume the daily thoughts of Pakistani 14-year-old Razaq Khan, who was tricked into underground slavery. In this world, the innocent are considered “lumps of meat,” and the people who own them thrive on breaking their spirits. In this searing novel, Hawke follows Razaq through his ordeal, including his quest to find his uncle Javaid in a city that becomes his cage. His journey begins when his mountain town is destroyed in an earthquake, “like a blanket shaken in the wind,” killing family and foreshadowing an unsteady future. He struggles to keep his spirit alive and avoid becoming “the shadow of a wounded wolf.” Hawke convincingly shows how memories of the dead, love for his friend Tahira, and an unbreakable hope all give Razaq strength to transcend suffering. Eventually, he finds his “inner light” by remembering who he is: a fearless mountain wolf. Pair this novel with Iqbal, by Francesco D’Adamo (2003), which offers another harrowing, fictional view of child slavery. Grades 9-12. --Annie Miller
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