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Afghan Dreams: Young Voices of Afghanistan [Hardcover]

Tony O'Brien , Michael P. Sullivan

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Book Description

September 2008

If the stories that come out of Afghanistan are ever to contain hope for the future, then the young people readers will meet in these pages are that hope. From street workers to female students in newly formed academies, children who work in family businesses, and pickpockets who steal from visiting photographers, these are the faces of young Afghanis who universally wish for peace in their neighborhoods, in their country, in their lifetimes.

Award-winning photojournalist Tony O’Brien and filmmaker Mike Sullivan went to Afghanistan to interview and photograph children of a wide range of ages, from varied ethnic backgrounds, and with very different daily lives. As each one tells his or her story the reader is placed right in the middle of everyday life as it is lived by children in the midst of one of the world’s most enduringly conflict-ridden countries.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books (September 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1599903210
  • ISBN-13: 978-1599903217
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 23.8 x 26.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 522 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,487,287 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Tony O’Brien’s work has appeared in many national and international publications including Time, Life, Newsweek and many others. He is the head of the Documentary Studies program at the College of Santa Fe. When he’s not traveling to the far corners of the world, he lives with his family in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Mike Sullivan is a bush pilot and filmmaker, spent years working with Jacques Cousteau, and has done humanitarian and environmental work all over the world including Central America, Africa, Irian Jaya, and Alaska. He studied film at the Anthropology Film Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he currently lives with his family.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Achingly Haunting Sept. 8 2009
By Erin Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a truly touching book. Journalist Tony O'Brien and filmmaker Mike Sullivan interview children from Afghanistan, tell them the story of Aladdin, and ask what their three wishes would be. Teachers could do a lesson in which they ask the students to write down what their three wishes are, read them this book, and then ask them if they would change anything about their wishes.

Although we have troubles in the United States, they seem pale in comparison to these children whose main wish is to be able to go to school. Many of them work numerous hours in a day for pennies in order to contribute to their family.

The pictures really add to the voices of the children in this book.

A few other teacher topics that could be gleaned from this book:

* Differences between boys and girls
* Differences between U.S. and Afghanistan
* How old are they when they go to work? Do your students work?

Notes on the Cover:
If I remember correctly, this is a close-up of a photo of two young boys flying a kite in a graveyard. When you get to that page on the book you really have to look, as the graveyard has only a few similarities to our American ones.

Recommended To:
* Kids curious about Afghanistan and what it's like there
* Teachers! Use it in your classroom!
* Adults - try reading this without it breaking your heart
5.0 out of 5 stars Hope lives! A beautiful book of real-life for children in a hard place Nov. 16 2010
By Amy C - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Incredible photography and riveting stories which put faces, through these children, of the hopes, fears, and daily struggles for real kids in a very hard place to live. Beautiful book which gives a window into the precious lives behind the headlines and stereotypes!
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a stunning, mesmerizing portrait of Afghanistan's children! Sept. 13 2009
By D. Fowler - Published on Amazon.com
Tony O'Brien and Mike Sullivan followed their dreams and went to war-ravaged Afghanistan to talk to the children to learn about their hopes and dreams. For some of the little ones, the easiest way to get them to understand was to tell them about the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp and then ask "what their three wishes would be." Bibi Aisha, age 11, said she "would love to believe in a magic carpet" because instead of having to walk a full hour to schoo,l she "could fly there in five minutes." Some of the children like Bibi are still so very innocent, but other children they found like sixteen-year-old Faridah, combination carpet maker and schoolgirl, ponders her life and claims, "I am accustomed to wartime; that's all I know." That's all many of these children seemed to know.

Most of the children interviewed were from Kabul where "daily life for most of its people is about survival: finding work, food and shelter." Later they moved to the countryside to interview children. The children talk about what they do for work, how they survive, and what their hopes for the future entail. Nozoku, age 10 says that "I get sick and nervous, worrying about the attacks." Many of them nonchalantly talk about friends and relatives who have died in wartime circumstances, but oddly enough, many talk about wanting an education. These interviews are accompanied by stunning portraits of each child. Eight-year-old Tajalaa stands tall and fierce before the camera with his balled up fists, puffed out chest and a look of determination on his face. He someday wants sons of his own, but now he has to work.

This was a mesmerizing book. Once I started reading I couldn't stop. The faces of the children, for the most part, showed determination and hope for the future. I loved the way the authors took snippets of obviously lengthy interviews and captured the essence of whom these children were and wanted to be. The photography, needless to say, is stunning and captures the emotional bearing of each child, from the serious or sad to the giggly or determined. This would be a marvelous book to add to any collection, especially a classroom one!
5.0 out of 5 stars Photograhy or Afghanistan March 30 2009
By J. Briggs - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is an outstanding book for 2 main reasons. The photography is by world renowned photojournalist, Tony O'Brien, who is the head of the Documentary Studies progam at the College of Santa Fe. The young people he has shown for the most part express hope for the future. It is a very moving book, which leaves a lasting impression.
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