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Ellis, Deborah. Mud City.

Groundwood Books. 164p. map. c2003. 0-88899-518-0. $15.95. JS

Ellis, familiar to NPR listeners for her reporting from Afghanistan, has given us another novel about street children there (following Parvana's Journey and The Breadwinner). Mud City is about an Afghani girl named Shauzia who is living in a refugee camp in Pakistan. She is a feisty girl, used to being on her own disguised as a boy, so she doesn't like the regulations of the camp very much. She has a dream of somehow saving enough money to get to France--a dream that has little chance of becoming reality. Most of the story is about Shauzia's experiences on the streets of Peshawar, where she and her beloved dog protect each other and survive by begging and doing odd jobs. At one dramatic point in the story, Shauzia is jailed and by chance rescued by a European man who takes her home to his family in Peshawar to live. Ellis tells this part of the story adeptly, describing the cultural clash between the well-meaning Europeans and Shauzia, who has no way of relating to the abundance of food, clothes, and other material wealth in her new home.

There is a note at the end of the novel about the recent history of Afghanistan and the plight of the thousands of street children in that part of the world. Proceeds from the sales of this book will go to Street Kids International.
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Author:Rosser, Claire
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 1, 2003
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