A Newbery Honor book by award-winning, bestselling author Nancy Farmer!
Eleven-year-old Nhamo lives in a traditional village in Mozambique, where she doesn't quite fit in. When her family tries to force her into marrying a cruel man, she runs away to Zimbabwe, hoping to find the father she's never met. But what should have been a short boat trip across the border turns into a dangerous year-long adventure, and Nhamo must summon her innermost courage to ensure her survival.
Farmer (The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm; The Warm Place, see p. 84) returns to Africa for the setting of this gripping adventure, equally a survival story and a spiritual voyage. When cholera decimates a village in Mozambique, a muvuki (traditional healer) identifies the cause of the illness as the work of an ngozi (avenging spirit) who had been slain by the orphan Nhamo's father. The muvuki decrees that Nhamo must marry the ngozi's surviving brother-a diseased and brutal man. Urged by her grandmother, Nhamo runs away, in hopes of finding her father's family in Zimbabwe. The two- or three-day boat trip, however, turns into a months-long odyssey through wilderness, where Nhamo must call upon all the skills she has ever learned in order to stay alive. Farmer overlays this suspenseful tale with a rich and respectful appreciation of Nhamo's beliefs. Without slowing the pace or changing her tone, she interpolates folktales that illuminate Shona culture; she also casts Nhamo's ordeal in terms of the spirit world, so that Nhamo confronts not just wild animals but witches, and communes not just with memories but with ancestral spirits. Nhamo herself is a stunning creation-while she serves as a fictional ambassador from a foreign culture, she is supremely human. An unforgettable work. Ages 11-up.
I loved reading his story back in 3rd grade and I always think of this story when I think back on learning to read and starting off a journey I would never forget. Nancy takes us on a ride that is memorable and interesting to every reader:)
a timeless classic.
I borrowed this book from my teacher in 7th grade.
I say borrowed, but what I really mean is “took and forgot to return it” which isn’t stealing, mind you! We were supposed to read it, as apart of the curriculum, but they changed it at the last minute. But in defiance of the school board — I read the book on my own time. And then I read it again. And then I read it again. And again. And again. And again.
The journey of Nhamo is hard to forget, hard to scrub out of your brain when you go on to devour your next story. It lingers, in the ways her family were so awful to her, due to unsolved feelings of jealousy, or in the dreams she often had; visited by dead friends. We remember her emotions, her journey, her fears, her triumphs, and her losses. We feel joy when she finally finds the place where she belongs, a real family who don’t fear her or see her as just an item.
This book is one of my ultimate favorites. I reread it whenever I am having a particularly bad go at things, to remind myself of how I felt in 7th grade. I’ve lost that copy by the way. (Sorry!)
This is a story about finding yourself in a world that is constantly against you. The journey is all yours. You just have to take it.
A Girl Named Disaster
This book not only shows us what true values are, but also morals books and movies can't provide us anymore. People who read this book get a sense of reality while still feeling as if in another world. This book drags us in, captures us within its pages and makes us a part of the story. Everyone who reads this book changes, it just has that power that many books these days don't possess. Without books like this out world would have no true down to earth connections, books like these are what keeps us grounded. I cannot imagine a life without this book. It has truly helped shape me into the person I am today which I am truly grateful for.