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Shahana: Through My Eyes

The first book in a new series from Allen & Unwin that explores the fragile worlds of children living in contemporary war zones.

          Shahana lives alone with her young brother in the shadow of the Line of Control, the border patrolled by Pakistani and Indian soldiers that divides Kashmir in two. Life is difficult, but Shahana ekes out a living with her embroidery. Then she finds a boy lying unconscious near the border. Zahid is from across the Line of Control, and Shahana takes a terrible risk by sheltering him. 

Themes: Asian content, children in war zones, Kashmir, human rights.


CBCA Notable Book 2014,

Shortlisted in YABBA awards 2014, 

Commended, Children's Peace Literature Award, 2014 AU,

Series short-listed, Educational Publishing Awards Australia -       Secondary Student Resource (Junior), 2015 AU

Published 2013

Allen & Unwin


This book is available in other formats: Large Print & Braille at Read How You Want. Click the Other Formats button to purchase.

What people are saying

This is an outstanding first entry in the 'Through My Eyes' series for readers aged 11-14... Building empathy and understanding, Hawke doesn't shy away from the terrible realities of growing up in a place where existence is fragile...Its biggest strength, however is in emphasising the resilience and dignity of the Kashmiri people, demonstrating the power of storytelling to bridge the gap between cultures. 

                       Meredith Lewin, Bookseller & Publisher


Gripping, compelling, heart-wrenching, shocking, amazing, eye-opening and thought provoking. Beautifully portrayed account of the lives of the young and old involved in the conflict.
Easy to read, wanting to read on but dreading what I anticipate will happen next to my heroine, Shahana.
     Merryn Bevis, class teacher at Ashburton Primary School in Victoria.


Rosanne, let me just say how much I LOVED Shahana. I didn't want to put it down, and it rang with a powerful authenticity. 

                                 John Heffernan, author

Shahana – a speech delivered at Windermere Harmony Day at Officer Primary School on Monday 28 October 2013 by Shane in Year 6.

          At first I thought it was boring. I thought it was about an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. When my teacher gave it to me I didn't even bother to understand the book. When I was on my way home, I became curious to know what this book is about. So after I read the first page of Shahana I was already interested to know what would happen next.

          Over the holidays Shahana had become really interesting for me. I would read a little bit of it every day so my interest of this book would continue to build up. As I would read this book I would understand how hard it is for kids like them. Being an orphan and losing parents and a brother is not easy, especially if you are an elder sister taking care of your young sick boy. I mean let's look at ourselves; we all are living here in Australia which has no war at all. And they are struggling to live a day with just a few pieces of bread. We get to eat around three or four times a day, while they might not even see food for a week.

          After reading Shahana I have realised that there might be hundreds and thousands of young orphans just like Shahana and Tanveer. I have also experienced it myself. When I went to Afghanistan over the holidays I had seen the horror and desperation of the people living there. I was in Afghanistan for 2 months. Every fortnight or so there would be a Taliban attack or a bomb blast. Afghanistan and other countries like Kashmir would have been a wonderful place if it wasn't for violence and war. I appreciate and I thank you all for listening

                        Shane, Year 6, Minaret College, Victoria.

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