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2011 Nominee
Voted 10 out of 20

Wanting Mor

By Rukhsana Khan. Published in 2009 by Groundwood

Jameela lives with her mother and father in Afghanistan. Despite the fact that there is no school in their poor, war-torn village, and Jameela lives with a birth defect that has left her with a cleft lip, she feels relatively secure, sustained by her faith and the strength of her beloved mother, Mor.

But when Mor suddenly dies, Jameela’s father impulsively decides to seek a new life in Kabul. He remarries, a situation that turns Jameela into a virtual slave to her demanding stepmother. When the stepmother discovers that Jameela is trying to learn to read, she urges her father to simply abandon the child in Kabul’s busy marketplace. Jameela ends up in an orphanage.

Throughout it all, it is the memory of Mor that anchors her and in the end gives Jameela the strength to face her father and stepmother when fate brings them into her life again.

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