About Mud City
by Deborah Ellis
Parvana’s best friend, Shauzia, has escaped the misery of her life in Kabul, only to end up in a refugee camp in Pakistan. But she still dreams of seeing the ocean and eventually making a new life in France. This is the dream that has sustained her through the terrible years in Kabul. It is the dream for which she has forsaken family and friends.
But it is hard to imagine herself in a field of purple lavender when she is living in the Widows’ Compound of a muddy, crowded refugee camp outside Peshawar. Even worse, the compound is run by Mrs. Weera, Shauzia’s bossy phys ed teacher from Kabul, who insists that Shauzia be useful and make the best of a dismal situation.
Shauzia finally decides to leave the camp and try her luck on the streets. She is determined to earn money to buy her passage out of the country. Peshawar is dangerous and full of desperately poor and wandering children like herself, but she has Jasper, the dog who followed her down from a shepherds’ camp in the mountains. And she knows how to masquerade as a boy and comb the streets for jobs. She figures she knows how to survive.
But life as a street kid is dangerous and terrifying, and even with the advantages of a strong will, brave spirit and good luck, Shauzia soon discovers that the old choices are not so easy any more. This is a powerful and very human story of a feisty, driven girl who tries to take control of her own life.