Under the Persimmon Tree

Under the Persimmon Tree by Suzanne Fisher Staples

Intertwined portraits of courage and hope in Afghanistan and Pakistan

Najmah, a young Afghan girl whose name means “star,� suddenly finds herself alone when her father and older brother are conscripted by the Taliban and her mother and newborn brother are killed in an air raid. An American woman, Elaine, whose Islamic name is Nusrat, is also on her own. She waits out the war in Peshawar, Pakistan, teaching refugee children under the persimmon tree in her garden while her Afghan doctor husband runs a clinic in Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan.

Najmah’s father had always assured her that the stars would take care of her, just as Nusrat’s husband had promised that they would tell Nusrat where he was and that he was safe. As the two look to the skies for answers, their fates entwine. Najmah, seeking refuge and hoping to find her father and brother, begins the perilous journey through the mountains to cross the border into Pakistan. And Nusrat’s persimmon-tree school awaits Najmah’s arrival. Together, they both seek their way home.

Known for her award-winning fiction set in South Asia, Suzanne Fisher Staples revisits that part of the world in this beautifully written, heartrending novel.

Posted by at 6:34 PM | Spring 2007 | Under the Persimmon Tree

Spectrum of Change

Download file

Meanings of the colors: Red=War, Green=courage, Blue=Unknown, White=hope, Purple=loss, Yellow=Unjustice, and Black=violence.
Keeping that in mind, with the war going on today, how do you think they are dealing with the loss and violence from their own people in the middle east? Do you think they are able to find courage and hope given the unknown of the aftermath of the war? What is the most dramatic thing that has affected you and your life?

Posted by at 9:01 AM | Under the Persimmon Tree