Booked Out is offering a unique program of school and library bookings with the authors and editor of the Through My Eyes series. The new series invites young readers to enter the fragile worlds of children living in contemporary war zones, and is a tribute to their courage, determination, and perseverance. Ask us about having a specific author in to discuss the themes and background of their book, or lodge a general enquiry about a Through My Eyes themed session.
Visit the Booked Out website on the link below to view this fantastic promotional page.
Rosanne, what inspired you to write Shahana?
For ten years I worked as an aid worker in the Middle East and most of that time was spent in Northern Pakistan. We lived in Abbottabad close to Azad Kashmir, but we were not allowed to cross the border. The war over Kashmir is the longest-running conflict in the world today, and possibly the least understood – and there are many different points of view.
It wasn’t until 2006 when the border opened for aid workers helping with the aftermath of the 2005 earthquake, that I was able to visit Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir. There was a huge amount of damage, but I could see it had once been a beautiful place. Little is written in papers about how the Kashmiri conflict affects children, but many sources suggest there are over 200,000 orphans in Kashmir. I wanted to tell these children’s stories, albeit fictitiously, so other young people in peaceful countries like Australia can understand and care. Maybe knowing these stories can help.
Lyn, what inspired you to commission Through My Eyes?
As a teacher-librarian I was frequently asked by students for fiction stories of children in other cultures that had a strong link to reality. As an English as a Second Language teacher I had the privilege of listening to the incredible experiences of refugee and newly arrived children who had been displaced and traumatised by conflict. I began to realise the potential of combining these two experiences – a fiction series of engaging stories of true events in troubled lands with insight into culture, conflict and identity through one child’s eyes.
Australia is home to many refugees and displaced people and we were mindful of the need to show due respect to their cultures and experiences. The integrity of our authors and their exhaustive research has been invaluable in meeting this challenge. This series aims to pay tribute to children whose worlds have been changed forever. I believe we have achieved this aim as each author has created a story that is primarily about the culture and identity of their character, and while there are certainly bleak moments in each story, the overriding sense is one of hope and triumph over adversity.