Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Mud City by Deborah Ellis

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Mud City by Deborah Ellis

Groundwood Books, 2003

A sequel to Deborah Ellis's highly acclaimed international bestsellers, The Breadwinner (200,000 copies sold worldwide) and Governor General's Award nominee Parvana's Journey.

This final book of the acclaimed trilogy continues the story of Parvana's best friend. Fourteen-year-old Shauzia, has escaped the misery of her life in Kabul, only to end up in a refugee camp in Pakistan. 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 -- the dream for which she has forsaken family and friends.

But it is hard to imagine herself in a field of purple lavender in the Widows' Compound of the 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 in the camp 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 to mountains. And she knows how to masquerade as a boy and comb the streets for jobs. She figures she knows how to survive.
And survive she does, for a time -- doing odd jobs, picking through garbage, begging when she has to. But an incident with a dishonest man lands her in jail, where she spends the night, terrified and despairing, before well-meaning Americans she met when she was begging rescue her.

They take her and Jasper to their home in a residential part of Peshawar, and for a time she has a taste of a life where children have food to eat and warm beds and toys to play with, and she feels safe for the first time. But just when she thinks the family will ask her to stay with them, disaster ensues, and Shauzia finds herself driven back to the refugee camp, where she discovers the old choices are not so easy any more.

Awards and Nominations:

  • Selected, NYPL Books for the Teen Age (2004)
  • Selected, CCBC Our Choice (2004)
  • Selected, Cooperative Children's Book Center Choice (2004)
  • Shortlisted, Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Award (2004)
  • Winner, Hackmatack Award (2005)
  • Nominee, Red Cedar Book Award (2005)
  • Selected, Lamplighter Award (2006)

From the catalogue. Read more about Mud City at the Groundwood Books website.