Parvana’s father is dead, and the book starts on the funeral. She put rocks on his grave, with some help of a man. And after the funeral he says that she is going home with him and live there with his wife and children. She gets back to the lean-to, where she and her father had lived, and gets her things and follow the man to his house. She lives there in a week, until the oldest girl tells her that the man is going to give her to the Talibans for money. So she has to leave, and gets off to a journey to find her family….
Chapter 2 On her way she sees a woman and asks her if she is alright, what’s her name and where she comes from. But the woman doesn’t answer, she just sits and wail. Then Parvana shouts at her that she has to take care of her because she’s a grownup. But the woman just continues wailing. Then Parvana looks into her eyes and finds that they are dead, there’s no hope left in them. Parvana’s father had told her to stay away from those people, so she leaves the woman behind and continue her jouney. Chapter 3 Later she finds a village and goes into a house. There she finds a little baby, and his dead mother lying beside him.
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She takes care of the baby and washes it and feeds it. She takes food from the houses thinking that it’s not stealing; it’s the village helping the baby. And she spends the most time in the least destroyed house. She doesn’t want to leave the village but one day she sees the Talibans in the far distance and runs with the baby and all her stuff. But it’s really heavy, so she has to leave her father’s old books behind. She buries them thinking that now her father has something to read in under the ground. Chapter 4 One day she finds a cave and goes in to see if it’s empty. But it’s not.
A skinny and dirty boy, about ten years old is in the cave. His name is Asif and he is very rude to Parvana and doesn’t let her stay in the cave, so she starts cooking food outside the cave. The boy comes out and she notices that he has just got one leg, and can’t walk. She gives him some food, but he is still rude to her and says mean things to her. But Parvana stay at the cave, and the longer she stays the better friends they get. Chapter 5 & 6 One day Parvana make up a story about the cave, that it’s a treasure cave. And the more she tells Asif about it, the more she believes it herself.
And after a while they start digging after a treasure in the cave. While they dig they talk about what they are going to do with all the jewels they will find and gets excited about it. And then they find a box. But when they open it they find that it’s full of bullets and they both get very disappointed. Chapter 7 Parvan decides to leave the cave and continue her search for her mother. When she tells Asif he asks her if she wants him to come with her, but she doesn’t answer. But he says that she probably doesn’t want him to come, and because of that he should do it anyway just to annoy her.
So they bundle up their things and realize that it’s not much food left. And after a fight between Parvana and Asif when Parvana drops the pot with rice on the ground, they have even less. But they start walking anyway, and don’t look back. Chapter 8 After days without food they find a village, which is not bombed. There Parvana talks to a very rude man and begs him for some food or maybe a job to get some food or money for. Parvana is the only one of the children who can work, so she gets a job. To clean the henhouse. While she’s cleaning it she finds two eggs that the man had forgotten.
She thinks of stealing it, but she doesn’t. She knows it’s wrong because her father told her so, and he wouldn’t be proud if she did it. When she is done she gets food from the man, but only for one person, because she was the only one working. After sharing the food, the children are still hungry, but the man refuses to give them some more food. So when it gets dark Parvana and Asif return to the henhouse and steal the two eggs and a chicken. They thought that bad people, like the man, deserved bad things happen to them. And I think they are right. The man should have helped them, or at least been nice to them.
Chapter 9 & 10 The children eat the eggs and the chicken, but soon they’re hungry again. They’re walking and stopping sometimes to rest and drink in streams. Parvana has learn from her farther to always boil the water in Afganistan before drinking it, but after being hungry in many days she forgets to boil the water, and they get sick. Everything seems to be bad. They are hungry, tired and stink, especially Hassan because he has no clean clothes left because he has got diarrhea. They stay for a rest at a little stream and there Parvana and Asif starts a little competition about throwing rocks.
Suddenly when Parvana throws one, the ground explodes in front of their eyes. They are in a minefield! Chapter 11 They huddle together and start to cry. Parvana think about what they can do. If they walk they’ll probably die because of the mines and if they stay they’ll starve to death. Suddenly they see something coming from the minefield. Soon they realize that it’s a girl. She runs to them and says hello and asks them to follow her to her house. She also says that the mine can’t kill her and then she turns and runs back. The children follows her and by a miracle they miss all the mines.
The girls name is Leila and she’s about eight years old. Leila’s house in a mus shack and Parvana’s first thought was that it stinks. It’s very dirty everywhere and the yard is full of garbage, and Leila has also used it as a laterine. They get to meet Leila’s grandmother. First Parvana can’t see her because she’s lying under some cloth, even her face is covered, but Leila talk to her and she tells them that her grandmother says welcome. She also says that her grandmother has been lying under some cloth since Leilas mother walked away to search for Leila’s bother and father. That was some months ago and her mother hasn’t got back yet.
But Leila is still waiting for her and sits on a hill every day to look for her. That night Leila makes some food for them. Chapter 12 The children stays for the night and the next morning Parvana gets up and takes a walk in the clearing where the house is placed. Soon Leila comes out to her and shows her around outside the house. She shows Parvana her treasure house, where she has many different things and she tells Parvana where it comes from. When Leila hear an explosion in the minefield she runs over there to look if there’s something that she could take and use, if the person who owned it died.
Parvana think of it like a spider with a net which takes all the flies that get stuck. But Parvana is glad to be there anyway, because Leila has food and a house and that’s a lot more then Parvana and her friends had. Parvana has a notebook and pen to write to her friend Shauzia, who’s in France. When she writes this day she writes about a fantasy she came up with some days ago. The Green Valley where no one’s hungry, sick or stink. Where there’s always food and everyone’s happy. It’s a beautiful place. Today she writes that she has found it. It’s Leilas house and clearing, that just has to get a little cleaner.
Parvana thinks she’s going to stay here for a while. Chapter 13 There are flies all over the place and Parvana thinks it annoying when she wants to sleep at night. So the children start to clean the house and the yard from garbage. They dig a good hole to use as a laterine, all to get rid of the flies. One day Parvana notice a wound in Leilas head, with worms in it. Asif helps her to take them out, one by one and then they wash her. The worms probably came from flies which put their eggs in the wound. The children also start to organize plants in the yard and they find some seeds from vegetables there, and start to grow them.
The clearing gets a better place. Hassan grows much now that he’s getting food and he starts to crawl around, and sometimes tries to stand up. And that becomes a problem when they constantly have to look after him. One day he’s gone and they search for him. They find him on his way out to the field, which could be very dangerous for him. So they come up with a solution to tie a rope around his waist so that he can’t get too far. Chapter 14 The children are happy at the Green Valley. Their health is much better. They have food, water to drink and wash themselves in.
Parvana and Leila are really good friends now, and Leila asks Parvana if she wants to be her sister, which makes Grandmother Parvana’s grandmother too. And according to Leila Asif and Hassan are their brothers, because Parvana found them. All the wounds in Leilas face is healed. One day Parvana wants to clean the house orderly and then they have to move Grandmother. They put her outside, in the sun. When they do that Parvana thinks she can see a smile on Grandmother’s face. After that day they take her out every day and the grandmother seems much happier.
Leila and Parvana dreams about their mothers coming back and one of them always sits on the hill looking for them. One day Leila sees some trunks driving past on a road far away. They are probably on their way to war, but the children aren’t afraid because it’s so far away. Chapter 15 One day they see airplanes in the air and then they see dust from bombs. And the bombs continue all night, making them unable to sleep, every night. On the afternoons Parvana has school with Leila and Grandmother. Asif says that he doesn’t want to learn, so he’s playing with Hassan instead, but he is always close so that he can hear what they say.
The food is running out and they are waiting for a mine to explode. And suddenly they hear an explosion and Leila and Parvana runs off to look. They find a goat and take it home with them. That night they decide to have a party. They cook the goat and sit around the fire outside, even Grandmother is with them. When it gets dark the bombs start falling in the distance and then they start to sing. The louder the bombs sound the louder they sing. They sit and sing until the fire only glow. Then a bomb fall down right beside the Green Valley and the ground shake. Leila and Hassan scream.
Parvana holds on to Leila, and Asif to Hassan and then they huddle together. Grandmother huddles too, but a little way from the children. A bomb falls down right on Green Valley and all of them starts to scream. Leila tries to reach for Grandmother, but Parvana hold her with her. The bombs continue falling on Green Valley all night. When they look around in the morning everything is gone. Both Grandmother and Green Valley. Everything is bombed away. Chapter 16 The children walk, hoping to find food. They only had some rice, but they couldn’t cook it so they had to eat it raw. But now it’s out.
They only have one pair of clothes each. Parvana has her girl’s clothes on, because that was what she had on when the bombing came, and now everything else is gone. She has no head cover, which girls her age should have according to the Talibans. They wouldn’t be happy to see her without it. The children find a stream where they wash themselves and their clothes. They stay there for the night and the next day they decide to continue walking and following the stream. Chapter 17 The children walk for days without food. They are hungry and sick of the water from the stream, because they can’t boil it.
All their things are bombed away and they can’t understand why. Why anyone would like to kill Grandmother and take their things away with bombs. On the way they meet a family with a cart. Leila asks them if they could go with them on their cart. But one wheel on the cart is broken, the family can’t get anyway. Then Parvana asks them for food for Hassan, because he won’t eat the leaves and grass like the other children. But the family doesn’t have any food for their own baby and their children, which are very skinny. Then Parvana asks them if they know of any place to go.
The father tells them there’s a camp fairly near. He tells them in what way they should go and that many people go that way to get away from the bombs. It’s hard for Asif to get across the stream, but they make it and continue walking. Chapter 18 &19 Later on their way they find a road and, like the father said, there are many people going the same way. And just like the children the people didn’t have any food or water. Everyone begs each other for food and water even if the one you beg, beg from you. Finally they come to the camp and after standing in a big line they got in to the big tent.
A nurse takes care of Hassan and gives the other children a blanket and some food and water. She says that Hassan is seriously sick, but there is still hope that he will recover. They get to sleep on the floor under Hassan’s crib. But after some days the tent is so full the children have to move outside. The nurse gives them a plastic thing to build a plastic shelter. They build the shelter next to the tent. Hassan gets to stay in the tent with nurses taking care of him. The nurse also gives them a letter to give to the bakery on the camp to get food.
But to get anything in the camp you have to stand in line, sometimes for many hours. Most of Parvana’s time during the days she spends standing in line. When they have lived in the camp for some more days it’s so full Parvana can’t see the end of it. It’s just a big sea of tents and shelters and crying and screaming people. Parvana, Leila and Asif have got the cough and it’s just getting worse and worse. But Hassan is getting better. They hear the bombing every night, making Parvana unable to sleep. She’s starting to wonder if this is really how her life should be… Chapter 20 & 21 One day they see planes flying over the camp.
People wonder if it’s bombing planes, but the planes drop some yellow packages and a boy runs of to take one. He opens it and cry: “It’s food! ” and then everyone gets hysterical and pushes to get one too. Another plane drops packages on the other side of the minefield and Leila says “I can get one, the mines won’t hurt me! ” and runs of. But Parvana grab her arm and hold her back. Then she hear an explosion and look at the child she’s holding, it’s not Leila! Leila is lying injured on the field beside the explosion. Parvana runs to her, even if a guard tells her not to, and she takes Leila away from the field.
A nurse bends down and check on Leila and many people gather around her. One woman with a burqa also bend down but Parvana only pays attention to Leila. She tries to say something and Parvana bends down to hear her. “They were so pretty,” she said and then she died. Then the woman with the burqa says something and Parvana recognizes her voice. She takes of the woman’s burqa and in the minute Parvana sees the woman’s face she know who it is. It’s Parvana’s mother! They bury Leila and stay on the camp. Parvana doesn’t know for how long. Her mother and her sister Nooria works in a women’s organization at the camp.
Ali, Parvana’s little brother died, but her little sister, Maryam, is still living. Parvana is glad to have a big family now, both her old and new, and that make it a little bit easier to accept that Leila is dead. One day when Parvana is writing a letter to her friend Asif comes and talk to her. He says that Parvana probably doesn’t want him to stay with her and her family and then he should stay just to annoy her. Parvana just sighs at him and writes to Shauzia and promise her that in less than twenty years from now she will meet her in France, on the Eiffel Tower.