Book cover for The Kite Runner
The Kite Runner
Alternative book cover of The Kite Runner
About the Book
Community Information
Additional Resources


Materials for Teaching The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Created and/or Compiled by Dianne Emmick
CNY Reads Committee
Syracuse, NY

 


Discussion Questions
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This is a compilation of questions from:
http://www2.sjsu.edu/ugs/reading/KRGuide.pdf
http://www.bookbrowse.com/reading_guides/detail/index.cfm?fuseaction=printable&book_number=1232 and from Dianne Emmick.

1. The strong underlying force of this novel is the relationship between Amir and Hassan. Discuss their relationship. Are they childhood friends? Why is Hassan so loyal to Amir? Why does Amir constantly test Hassan's loyalty? Why does he resent Hassan? In what ways does he underestimate him?

2. Discuss Amir's relationship with Baba. Is it normal to have expectations for your child that he/she may not meet? Is it normal to feel disappointment if the child is not what a parent wants/ expects? Why does Baba have difficulty in his relationship with Amir? How does this affect Amir?

3. Discuss Amir. His father says, "There is something missing in that boy" (22). Is he right? How do you feel about him?

4. Discuss what you learned about Afghanistan by reading this novel - the politics, the culture, the social system.

5. How is the kite flying significant in the story? What other symbols do you find - the sheep, the scar Amir receives, the pomegranate tree, the mythical story of Romstan and Sohrab, wrestling a bear.

6. Discuss Amir and Baba's relationship in America. Does it change?

7. Discuss the immigrant experience. Did the novel change or support any opinions you previously held about immigrants?

8. Discuss the relationship between Baba and Ali and between Amir and Hassan. Are Baba's and Amir's relationships (and betrayals) of their servants (if you consider Baba's act a betrayal) similar or different? Do you think that such betrayals are inevitable in the master/servant relationship, or do you feel that they are due to flaws in Baba's and Amir's characters?

9. Farid tells Amir, "You've always been a tourist here [Afghanistan], you just didn't know it"(232). Discuss this statement. Is it true for Amir? Is it true for you in your own country?

10. Discuss guilt and redemption. Is it possible to regain redemption? How? Do you feel Amir has redeemed himself in the end?

11. What quote or event or symbol spoke to you or interests you for further discussion? Why?

Top of Page


Biography: Khaled Hosseini

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khaled_Hosseini

Hosseini was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. His father was a diplomat with the Afghan Foreign Ministry and his mother taught Persian and history at a large high school in Kabul. In 1970, the Foreign Ministry sent his family to Tehran, Iran, where his father worked for the Afghan embassy. In 1973 they returned to Kabul. In July 1973, on the night Hosseini's youngest brother was born, the Afghan king, Zahir Shah, was overthrown in a bloodless coup d'état by the king's cousin, Mohammed Daoud Khan.

In 1976, the Afghan Foreign Ministry once again relocated the Hosseini family, this time to Paris, France. In 1980, they were scheduled to return to Kabul, but by then Afghanistan had undergone a bloody communist coup and then the invasion of the Soviet army. Wary of the impact of the Soviet war in Afghanistan, Hosseini's family sought and were granted political asylum in the United States, and in September 1980, they moved to San Jose, California. Because they had lost all of their property in Afghanistan, they lived on welfare and food stamps for a short while. His father took multiple jobs and managed to get his family off welfare.

Hosseini graduated from high school in 1984 and enrolled at Santa Clara University where he earned a bachelor's degree in Biology in 1988. The following year, he entered the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine, where he earned his Doctor of Medicine (MD) degree in 1993. He completed his residency in Internal Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles in 1996. He continues to practice medicine.

Influences

When Hosseini was a child, he read a great deal of Persian poetry, as well as Persian translations of novels ranging from Alice in Wonderland to Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer series. Hosseini's memories of peaceful pre-Soviet era Afghanistan, as well as his personal experiences with Afghan Hazaras, led to the writing of his first novel, The Kite Runner. One Hazara man, named Hossein Khan, worked for the Hosseinis when they were living in Iran. When Hosseini was in third grade, he taught Khan to read and write. Though his relationship with Hossein Khan was brief and rather formal, Hosseini's fond memories of this relationship served as an inspiration for the relationship between Hassan and Amir in The Kite Runner.

Novels

The Kite Runner (ISBN 1594480001) is the story of a young boy, Amir, juggling to establish a closer rapport with his father and coping with memories of a haunting childhood event. The novel is set in Afghanistan, from the fall of the monarchy until the collapse of the Taliban regime, and in the San Francisco Bay Area. Its many themes include ethnic tensions between the Hazara and the Pashtun in Afghanistan, and the immigrant experiences of Amir and his father in the United States. The novel was published in 2003, and in 2005, it was third on the list of top 10 best sellers in the United States, according to Nielsen BookScan.[1] (The number one best seller was J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, while number two was James Frey's A Million Little Pieces.)

Dreaming In Titanic City is expected to be published by Riverhead Books in early 2007

Top of Page


VOCABULARY FROM THE KITE RUNNER

From: http://www.vocabulary.com/VUctkiterunner.html

(Teachers: If you have a vocabulary list for this book (or for other books or plays) that you would share with us,
 email Jan and Carey Cook. We will post it and give you attribution if you wish! Thanks for helping us!!!)

The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini - 78 words in order of appearance, as indicated:

Chapters 1-4: pp.1-30 Affluent, tapestries, chandelier, vaulted, congenital, perpetually, skeptic, scoffed, virtuous, intricacies, exhilarating, liability, melee, jostled, vehemently, revving, nemesis, obstinacy, irony·

Chapters 5-7: pp.30-69 Monarchy, unwittingly, harassing, trepidation, lorries, foyer, integrity, squabbling, gnarled, imminent, demise

Chapters 8-10: pp. 70-108 Lumbering, insomniac, embodiment, bazaar, drone, shrouded, withered, stench

Chapters 11-12: pp. 109-144 Cretin, permeate, cardamom, tarpaulin, suitor, carcinoma, palliative, metastasized, chastise

Chapters 13-16: pp. 145-187 Posh, ensuing, incessant, chuff, presumptuous

Chapters 17-21; pp. 188-238 Wary, oblivion, dismissive, snickered, burlap, relic, obliges, haphazardly, hunkered

Chapters 22-23: Tote, morbidly, calloused, hemorrhage, paunchy

Chapters 24-25: Irrevocably, teeming, turmoil, insomniac, epiphany, eccentric

Thank you to Janice Cook, a former teacher at Sacred Heart Prep in Atherton, California
for being our teacher contributor for The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini.

Top of Page


Kite Runner Characters ( by page number)
Compiled by D. Emmick

Character 
Description 
Page
First Mentioned
Amir Narrator, a Pashtun, Sunni
1
Baba Amir's father
1
Hassan Amir's playmate, servant, a Hazara, Shi'a
1
Rahim Khan Baba's best friend; special person to Amir
1
Ali Hassan's father
2
Nadir Shah, King In a picture taken in 1931 w/Amir's grandfather
5
Fatiullah Khan, Mullah Amir's teacher, fundamentalist Muslim
15
Rostam, Sohrab, Rakhsh From Afghan story of warriors of old
29
Assef Mean-spirited boy
38
Daoud Khan President of Afghanistan in 1970's
39
Kamal Follower of Assef; later dies in fuel truck
39
Wali Follower of Assef
39
Kumar, Dr. Hassan's plastic surgeon
45
Saifo Kite salesman
51
Omar Son of Baba's engineer friend; "a pretty good guy"
68
Sakina Amir's and Hassan's wet nurse
73
Faruq Brother of Nader
82
Hamayoun, Kaka "Uncle," cousin of Baba's, has two wives
82
Nader Cousin of Homayoun
82
Shafiqa Cousin who goes on trip to Jalalabad
82
Mahmood and Tanya Assef's father, an airline pilot, and his wife
95
Karim Driver who takes Amir and Baba out of Afghanistan
111
Jalaluddin Seventh servant in five years
112
Zahir, Ahmad Afghani singer
112
Toor Karim's brother
117
Kamal's father Commits suicide after son dies
124
Nguyens Grocery store owners
127
Dobbins, Mrs. Social worker
130
Taheri, Iqbal (General Sahib) Friend of Baba's in America; Soraya's father
140
Taheri, Soraya Amir's wife
141
Taheri, Khala (Khanum),
(Later called Khala Jamila)
General Taheri's wife
148
Ziba Soraya's childhood servant
151
Amani, Dr. Iranian pulmonologist
155
Schneider, Dr. Pulmonologist who sees Baba
155
Sharif Brother to Khanum Taheri, works for the INS
170
Rosen, Dr. Fertility doctor
185
Alfatoon Amir's and Saroya's dog
190
Farzana Hassan's wife
205
Sanaubar (Sasa) Hassan's mother (Sohrab's grandmother)
209
Sohrab Hassan's son; also in story of Rostam and Sohrab
211
Farid Amir's taxi driver
228
Wahid Farid's brother
234
Wahid's boys Wahid's children
234
Maryam Wahid's wife
236
Dr. Rasul Beggar who knew Amir's mother
248
Sofia Akrami Amir's mother
249
Zaman Director of the orphanage
252
Nasruddin, Mullah Subjects of Afghan jokes
266
Javid One of Assef's guards
277
Aisha Amir's nurse
294
Faruqi, Dr. (Armand) Doctor w/Clark Gable mustache; Amir calls him Armand
295
Andrews, Raymond US official Amir speaks to in Pakistan about adopting Sohrab
328
Kaka Sharif Soraya's uncle who works for the INS
333
Nawaz, Dr. Sohrab's doctor
348
Kabir Former Afghan ambassador working on hospital project in Afghanistan
363

Top of Page


The Kite Runner Characters (Alphabetical)
Compiled by D. Emmick

Character
Description
Page
First Mentioned
Aisha Amir's nurse
294
Alfatoon Amir's and Saroya's dog
190
Ali Hassan's father
2
Amani, Dr. Iranian pulmonologist
155
Amir Narrator, a Pashtun, Sunni
1
Andrews, Raymond US official Amir speaks to in Pakistan about adopting Sohrab
328
Assef Mean-spirited boy
38
Baba Amir's father
1
Daoud Khan President of Afghanistan in 1970's
39
Dobbins, Mrs. Social worker
130
Dr. Rasul Beggar who knew Amir's mother
248
Farid Amir's taxi driver
228
Faruq Brother of Nader
82
Faruqi, Dr. (Armand) Doctor w/Clark Gable mustache; Amir calls him Armand
295
Farzana Hassan's wife
205
Fatiullah Khan, Mullah Amir's teacher, fundamentalist Muslim
15
Hamayoun, Kaka "Uncle," cousin of Baba's, has two wives
82
Hassan Amir's playmate, servant, a Hazara, Shi'a
1
Jalaluddin Seventh servant in five years
112
Javid One of Assef's guards
277
Kabir Former Afghan ambassador working on hospital project inAfghanistan
363
Kaka Sharif Soraya's uncle who works for the INS
333
Kamal Follower of Assef; later dies in escaping fuel truck
39
Kamal's father Commits suicide after son dies
124
Karim Driver who takes Amir and Baba out of Afghanistan
111
Kumar, Dr. Hassan's plastic surgeon
45
Mahmood and Tanya Assef's father, an airline pilot, and his wife
95
Maryam Wahid's wife
236
Nader Cousin of Homayoun
82
Nadir Shah, King In a picture taken in 1931 w/Amir's grandfather
5
Nasruddin, Mullah Subjects of Afghan jokes
266
Nawaz, Dr. Sohrab's doctor
348
Nguyens Grocery store owners
127
Omar Son of Baba's engineer friend; "a pretty good guy"
68
Rahim Khan Baba's best friend; special person to Amir
1
Rosen, Dr. Fertility doctor
185
Rostam, Sohrab, Rakhsh Afghan story of warriors of old
29
Saifo Kite salesman
51
Sakina Amir's and Hassan's wet nurse
73
Sanaubar (Sasa) Hassan's mother (Sohrab's grandmother)
209
Schneider, Dr. Pulmonologist who sees Baba
155
Shafiqa Cousin who goes on trip to Jalalabad
82
Sharif Brother to Khanum Taheri, works for the INS
170
Sofia Akrami Amir's mother
249
Sohrab Hassan's son; also in story of Rostam and Sohrab
211
Taheri, Iqbal (General Sahib) Friend of Baba's in America; Soraya's father
140
Taheri, Khala (Khanum)
(Later called Khala Jamila)
General Taheri's wife
148
Taheri, Soraya Amir's wife
141
Toor Karim's brother
117
Wahid Farid's brother
234
Wahid's boys Wahid's children
234
Wali Follower of Assef
39
Zahir, Ahmad Afghani singer
112
Zaman Director of the orphanage
252
Ziba Soraya's childhood servant
151

Top of Page


FORESHADOWING in The Kite Runner
by D. Emmick

Following are some examples of foreshadowing from The Kite Runner.

Explain these examples. 
What does each refer to and how is it foreshadowing?

Locate further examples of your own. 
Write the quote below and be prepared to explain its context and importance as the plot unfolds.


"I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975" (1).

"The next time I saw him smile unabashedly like that was twenty-six years later, in a faded Polaroid photograph" (67).

"I popped another one in [grape], unaware that it would be the last bit of solid food I would eat for a long time" (275).

"'For you, a thousand times over', Farid said" (305).

Top of Page


The Kite Runner Timeline
Compiled by D. Emmick

Note:  Items in italics refer to actual historical incidents

Date
Event(s)
Amir's age
Page
1915
Baba's grandfather married his 3rd wife and Baba's father was born.
1931
Picture of Baba's father with King Mohammad Nadir Shah (displayed in living room).  He reigned from 1929-1933.           
5
1933
Baba is born
24
King Nadir Shah is assassinated.
Mohammad Sahir(Zahir) Shah takes throne.
24
1963
Amir's birth
Amir's mother, Sofia Akrami, dies
1964
Hassan's birth
1
6
Sanuabar leaves
6
1973
King Mohammad Sahir Shah, away in Italy, is overthrown by his cousin Mohammad Daoud Khan, ending "the king's forty-year reign with a bloodless        coup" (36).
10
35-37
Daoud abolishes monarchy, establishes himself as President
36
1974
Hassan's surgery
11
47
1975
Amir wins the kite contest
12
66
Hassan's rape
73/75
1976
Hassan's 13th birthday party    
13
94-100
Hassan and Ali leave
109
1978
Daoud is assassinated
15
1980
U.S. boycotts Olympic games in Moscow
17
1981
Russians invade.  (March) Baba and Amir leave Afghanistan.           
18
110-124
Amir and Baba are in Pakistan
1982/3
Amir and Baba come to SanFrancisco
19/20
125 - end
1983
Amir graduates from high school
20
131
1984
Amir and Baba begin selling at flea market
136
Amir meets Soraya
140
Ali is killed by land mine
206
1985/86
Amir and Soraya marry
22/23
170
1986
Rahim Khan goes to find Hassan
23
204
Hassan returns to Rahmin's (Baba's) house in Afghanistan
207
Baba dies
173
1988
Amir has first novel accepted
25
183
1989
Amir goes on book tour
26
183
Amir and Soraya begin trying to have a family
26
184
Shorawi (Russians) withdraw from Afghanistan
184
Fighting between factions
184
Berlin wall comes down
184
Cold War ends
184
Tiananmen Square
184
1990
Hassan's mother, Sanaubar, returns
27
209
Sohrab is born
211
1992-1996
Northern Alliance control of Kabul
29-331
199
1995
Sanaubar dies
32
211
1996
Taliban takes over
33
200
1998
Incident with Rahim Khan and Taliban at soccer game
35
Taliban massacre of Hazaras in Mazar-i-Sharif
35
2000
Hassan and Farzana are killed
37
219
2001
(June) Amir gets phone call from Rahim Khan asking him to come to Pakistan
38
190
(Summer continues) Amir in Pakistan/ Afghanistan
190-357
(August) Amir returns home with Sohrab
357
(December) First chapter of book (Followed by long flashback)
1
2002
(March) Amir and Sohrab fly the kite.  Amir runs the kite for him.
39
368-371

Top of Page


HISTORY OF AFGHANISTAN
Compiled by Dianne Emmick

Information complied from:
http://www.afghan-web.com/history/
See the website for more detail.

50,000 BC TO 20,000 BC:  Evidence of Stone Age civilization. 
Evidence N. Afghanistan was one of the earliest places to domesticate animals and plants.

3,000 BC to 2,000 BC:  Urban centers arise.

2,000 BC to 1,500 BC:  City of Kabul established.

600 BC: Zoroaster introduces a monotheistic religion.

329-326 BC:  Alexander the Great invades and conquers Afghanistan but revolts continue and he does not thoroughly subdue population.

323 BC: Greeks rule Northern Afghanistan.

50 AD: Kushan rule, under King Kanishka. Graeco-Buddhist culture reaches its height.

220 AD: Kushan empire breaks into factions.

440 AD: Invasion of White Huns.  Country in ruins.  Buddhist culture destroyed.

550 AD: Persians control all of what is now Afghanistan.  Afghan tribes stage revolts.

652 AD: Arabs introduce Islam.

962-1030:  Afghanistan is center of Islam civilization.

1219-1221: Genghis Kahn invades. He destroys irrigation systems, turning fertile land into arid deserts.

1273: Marco Polo crossed Afghanistan.

1332-1747:  A series of rulers:  Descendants of Ghorid rulers; Timour-i-Lang; Buhlul founds Lodi dynasty; Babur, founder of Moghul dynasty, controls Kabul; Afghan intellectual Roshan killed in battle with Moghuls; Khushhal Khan Khattack, warrior-poet, inspires uprising against Moghuls; Mir Wais makes Kandahar independent of Persia; Mir Wais's son Mir Mahmud invades Persia; Nadir Shah of Persia occupies southwest Afghanistan and Kandahar; Nadir Shah is assassinated.

1747: Afghans, under Ahmad Shah Abdali, retake Kandahar and establish modern Afghanistan.

1747-1173: Rule of Ahmad Shah Abdali (Durrani). Greatest Muslim empire of the period.

1773-1836: Various rulers marked by internal revolts and wars with Persia.  Rule of Timur Shah, Zaman Shah, Mahmood, Shah Shujah, return of Mahmood, sons of Timur Shah, Dost Mohammad Khan,

1836: Dost Mohammad Khan makes significant strides in reunifying Afghanistan.  Rule of Zaman Shah.

1839-1842: Britain invades, installs puppet king who is killed by Afghans; Afghans revolt; Afghan hero Akbar Khan destroys British rule.

1843: Afghanistan independent. Dost Mohammad Khan regains rule.

1863-1866: Mohammad Khan's son Sher Ali succeeds to throne.

1866-1868: Mohammad Afzal, Mohammad Azam, Sher Ali again.

1878: Second Anglo-Afghan War begins. Afghans lose some territories permanently.

1880: British withdraw but retain right to handle Afghanistan's foreign relations.

1880-1921:  Continuing incidences and border disputes with Pakistan, Russia, British India.

1921: Third Anglo-Afghan War. Afghanistan wins full control of foreign affairs.

1929: Nadir Khan takes control.

1933: Nadir Khan is assassinated. His son Zahir Shah inherits the throne, but his uncles serve as principal rulers until 1953.

1934: US formally recognizes Afghanistan.

1940: Zahir Shah proclaims Afghanistan neutral during WW II.

1947: Britain withdraws from India and carves Pakistan out of Indian and Afghanistan lands.

1953: Prince Mohammad Daoud becomes prime minister.

1950's: US rejects Afghanistan request for $ to buy weapons.  Afghanistan turns to Russia.  Russia provides help. Women enter workforce and universities.

1960's: Communiest Party formed.

1973: Bloodless coup dethrones Zahir Shah while he is on vacation in Europe.  Momammad Daoud Khan abolishes monarchy, declares himself President, establishes Republic of Afghanistan.

1978: Communist coup. Daoud killed.  Afhan guerills movement (Mujahideen) born.

1979: US Ambassador killed. Inner turmoil.  Russia invades 12/79. Dr. Najibullah, with Sovier ties, is prime minister

1980-1987:  Mujahideen continues revolts. UN investigates human rights violations.

1988-89: Peace agreement signed in Geneva. Soviet Union withdraws.  Mujahideen continue to resist government
which they say is puppet of Soviet Union.  They declare their own "government-in-exile" leader.

1992: The Mujahideen take Kabul and liberate Afghanistan, form an Islamic State.  Professor Burhannudin Rabbani is elected President.

1994: The birth of the Taliban militia. Pakistan and Iran interference in Afghanistan.

1996-2001: Taliban control.  They execute Najibullah.  Oppression of women by the Taliban--women must be fully veiled, no longer allowed to work, go out alone or even wear white socks. Men are forced to grow beards. Buzkashi, the Afghan national sport is outlawed.  UN Sanctions against Taliban.  1998: Massacre at Mazar-i-Sharif.  Continual human rights violations, problems with neighboring countries. Internal fighting.

2001: September 11th - World Trade Center attack

October:  US air strikes against Taliban.  Interim government formed.

2004: Afghanistan adopts a new constitution with a three-branch government.  Harmad Karzai elected President.

Top of Page


Some Biographies of Historical Figures Mentioned in The Kite Runner
(compliled by D. Emmick)

From: http://www.afghan-web.com/bios/yest/daoud.html

Mohammad Nadir Shah (p. 5)

Mohammad Nadir was the king of Afghanistan from 1929 until he was assassinated in 1933. Before seizing the throne, Mohammad Nadir played a major role in the third Anglo-Afghan War (1919). Soon after that, because of disagreements with King Amanullah, Mohammad Nadir left Afghanistan to live in exile in France. After Habibullah Kalakani's rebellion and the abdication of King Amanullah (January 1929), Nadir left France and headed for India to prepare for his war against Kalakani. With British and various tribal support from India, Mohammad Nadir pushed back Kalakani and captured Kabul in October 1929. He later tricked Kalakani into believing he would not be killed, then captured him, and hanged him and many of his followers.

After becoming king, Mohammad Nadir fought hard against people who wanted to restore King Amanullah to the throne. He also reversed many of the modernization plans set forth by King Amanullah, and favored up to various religious extremists. Mir Ghulam Mohammad Ghobar, one of Afghanistan's most respected historians, describes Mohammad Nadir's rule as tyrannical. Nadir pinned ethnic groups against one another, (Tajiks and Pashtuns), raped, destroyed, and pillaged the Shamali area to the north of Kabul.

Mohammad Nadir Shah was born in 1883.


Mohammad Zahir Shah

Mohammad Zahir, born in 1914, was the king of Afghanistan from 1933 to 1973. He succeeded to the throne, after the assassination of his father, Mohammad Nadir. Despite the fact that Mohammad Zahir was the king, his uncles (Mohammad Hashim, and Shah Mahmud) were the ones ruling the country for many years. In July of 1973, while he was out of the country, his cousin Daoud Khan overthrew him; Zahir Shah decided instead to live in exile (Italy) for decades instead of regaining his throne. There is evidence to suggest that Zahir Shah actually had previous warning of the impending coup and perhaps left to avoid death. After many years of silence, in the late 1990s and early 2000s he initiated a plan to bring peace to Afghanistan. He wanted to try to set up a Loya Jirga (Grand Assembly), however his efforts were criticized by such groups as the Afghan Mellat Party, and the Taliban Movement. The current constitution gives him the title "Father of the Nation", however, it holds no political power and it cannot be passed down to an heir.


Sardar Mohammad Daoud Khan
(mentioned on p. 39)

Sardar Daoud Khan overthrew his cousin King Mohammad Zahir, and abolished the monarchy in Afghanistan. He then proclaimed himself the president of the Republic of Afghanistan in July 1973. Before that, Daoud Khan served under King Mohammad Zahir, holding various positions including Prime Minister. Sardar Daoud was a strong supporter of Pashtunistan, and worked towards reform and modernization. He encouraged the abandonment of the veil by Afghan women, and their participation in the building of a progressive and modern Afghanistan. He ruled until he was assassinated in 1978 (Saur Revolution). Afterwards, marxists took power in Kabul.

Top of Page


Books Related to The Kite Runner
From: http://www.onebookoneregion.org/Onebookreadinglist.htm

Children's Fiction
Children's Non-fiction
Adult Fiction
Adult Non-fiction


Children's Fiction

The Kite Fighters by Linda Sue Park
Two brothers anticipate the annual New Year's Kite competition, wondering how to balance duty and tradition and love for one's talent.

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis
Eleven-year-old Parvana must masquerade as a boy to gain access to the outside world and support her dwindling family during the oppressive rule of Afghanistan by the Taliban.

Parvana's Journey by Deborah Ellis
After her father's death, 13-year-old Parvana, disguised as a boy, wanders alone through war-torn Afghanistan looking for her mother and siblings who had disappeared in the tumult of the Taliban takeover of Mazar-e-Sharif.

Mud City by Deborah Ellis
Fourteen-year-old Shauzia dreams of seeing the ocean and eventually making a new life in France, but it is hard to reconcile that dream with the terrible conditions of the Afghan refugee camp where she lives.

Top of Section
Top of Page

Children's Non-fiction

Afghanistan by Bob Italia
Examines the history, geography, people, government, economy, art and recreation of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan by Miriam Greenblatt
Describes the geography, plants and animals, history, economy, language, religion, culture, sports and arts, and people of Afghanistan.

My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman's Story
by Latifa
The true story of a teenage girl, written during her exile, about growing up in war-torn Afghanistan between 1997 and 2001.

Afganistan: The People by Erinn Banting (Lands, Peoples, and Cultures Series)
Text and photos show how the history, climate, geography, ethnology, wars, and religion of Afghanistan have shaped the people and their customs and practices of modern daily life in the mountains, deserts, and cities.

Afghanistan by Laurel Corona
Discusses the people, land, culture, history, and future of the Afghanistan nation

Top of Section
Top of Page

Adult Fiction

Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi
After the invading Soviets destroy their village, an elderly Afghani takes his grandson on a quest to find the boy's father. The devastation of Afghanistan during the Soviet war is suddenly and piercingly conveyed in Earth and Ashes.

Lie Down With Lions by Ken Follett
A riveting tale of international intrigue-and a dangerous old war love triangle-set in Afghanistan.

Winter in Kandahar by Steven E. Wilson
Afghanistan comes to life in this story of love, betrayal, and war. Tajik Ahmed Jan's journey begins in the Northern Alliance stronghold near Taloqan just a month prior to the al-Qaida 9/11 conspiracy. He is swept away by the chaos that soon engulfs the country before a chance discovery propels him to the forefront of the clash between civilizations.

The Swallows of Kabul : A Novel by Yasmina Khadra
Khadra explores the effects of repression on a pair of Kabul couples in this slim, harrowing novel of life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.

Top of Section
Top of Page

Adult Non-Fiction

Storyteller's Daughter by Saira Shah
Born in England and raised on her father's fantastic stories of an Afghanistan she had never known, Shah spends her adult life searching for a mythic place of beauty. Shah first visits Afghanistan in 1986 as a war correspondent at the age of 21 and later returns as the documentary producer of Beneath the Veil, an expose of life under the Taliban that predated the national interest in the embattled country

An Unexpected Light : Travels in Afghanistan by Jason Elliot
An account of Elliot's two visits to Afghanistan. The first occurred when he joined the mujaheddin circa 1979 and was smuggled into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan; the second happened nearly ten years later, when he returned to the still war-torn land.

The Sewing Circles of Herat : A Personal Voyage Through Afghanistan by Christina Lamb
Expelled from Afghanistan by the Taliban for her reporting, award-winning British journalist Lamb returned after the September 11 attacks to observe the land and its people firsthand.

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
After living for three months with the Kabul bookseller Sultan Khan in the spring of 2002, Norwegian journalist Seierstad penned this portrait of a nation recovering from war, undergoing political flux and mired in poverty.

Zoya's Story: An Afghan Woman's Struggle for Freedom by Zoya
Direct and unsentimental, Zoya vividly brings to life the realities of growing up in a Muslim culture, the terror of living in a perpetual war zone, the pain of losing those she has loved, the horrors of a woman's life under the Taliban, and the discovered healing and transformation that lead her on a path of resistance.

The Lion's Grave: Dispatches from Afghanistan by Jon Lee Anderson
Anderson recounts the arduous task of developing sources and reporting on the complexities of a nation caught up in its own ethnic and religious conflicts and its place in the new war on terrorism.

Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 by Steve Coll
From the managing editor of the Washington Post, a news-breaking account of the CIA's involvement in the covert wars in Afghanistan that fueled Islamic militancy and gave rise to bin Laden's al Qaeda.

Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary story of the Largest Covert Operation in History by George Crile
From an award-winning 60 Minutes reporter comes the extraordinary story of the largest and most successful CIA operation in history-the arming of the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

The Hunt for Bin Laden: Task Force Dagger by Robin Moore
A detailed account of how just a few hundred Green Berets, working alongside the Northern Alliance, were able to overcome nearly 100,000 entrenched al-Qaida and Taliban members and take control of Afghanistan.

Afghanistan: A Modern History by Angelo Rasanayagam
Rasanayagam was Chief of Mission for the United Nations in Iran before becoming Director of the UNHCR office in Peshawar, Pakistan. The first serious history of modern Afghanistan, this book is of vital importance for understanding the country's current crisis.

Reaping the Whirlwind: The Taliban Movement in Afghanistan by Michael Griffin
Griffin approaches recent Afghan history through local and international news reports in an effort to understand who the Taliban are and how they see their role in Afghanistan and in the Islamic world.

Afghanistan: A Short History of Its People and Politics
by Martin Ewans
Ewans examines the historical evolution of Afghanistan and carefully weighs the lessons of history to provide a frank look at Afghanistan's prospects and the international resonances of the nation's immense task of total political and economic reconstruction.

Prisoners of Hope: The Story of Our Captivity and Freedom in Afghanistan by Dayna Curry
The story of two Christian aid workers --from their imprisonment by the Taliban to their rescue by U.S. Special Forces.

Veiled courage: Inside the Afghan Women's Resistance by Cheryl Benard
The history of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA).

West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story
by Tamim Ansary
In a friendly and often humorous style, Ansary charms readers with colorful stories of his life in Afghanistan and America, and shows what it is like to belong to two very different cultures.

Afghanistan: a military history from Alexander the Great to the fall of the Taliban by Stephen Tanner
A complete military history of Afghanistan from the 3rd century B.C. to the beginnings of Hamed Karzai's government.

Top of Section
Top of Page

Back to CNY Reads
Back to The Kite Runner

last updated: August 22, 2006