Shahana by Roseanne Hawke

ShahanaRoseanne Hawke

Through My Eyes #1

Allen & Unwin (2013)

Reviewed by Peta Harrison

Upper primary–lower secondary

In this time of global turmoil, novels about the experiences of children/ young adults around the world in areas of violence that are well written and realistic are welcome. In this novel, the first in a new series “Through my eyes”,  Roseanne Hawke has chosen to examine the impact of warfare on the lives of those most vulnerable – children and adolescents. Shahana and her young brother Tanveer have been left alone after the death of their mother and sibling in a bomb blast, the disappearance of their father while he was out and finally the death of the grandfather who took over their care. They live in a shack on the outskirts of a town torn apart by the conflict and guerrilla warfare surrounding them on the border the two sections of Kashmir.

The novel examines the suspicion of neighbours and how traditional culture does not allowing for the care of the young left alone by death. Even friendship and love are difficult to maintain. An excellent read examining an important topic, which may support readers to understand and empathise with those in areas of conflict.

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