Mahtab's Story

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More About This Title Mahtab's Story


Mahtab was hollow. Empty, as if her flesh and blood, her energy, that kept her breathing and running, thinking and talking, was gone. Nothing was in its place. She was hungry. Hungry for water, for her father, for her grandmother, her aunts and uncles, for the trees in the back yard, the cabinet on the wall, the silver and glass objects so lovingly collected, for her mountains, the jagged peaks that cut the sky. Her father was dead. She felt sure of it. She was just a speck of dirt on the floor, drifting through the gap between the boards, falling to the ground.


Mahtab and her family are forced to leave their home in Herat and journey secretly through the rocky mountains to Pakistan and from there to faraway Australia. Months go by, months of waiting, months of dread, with only memories and hopes to sustain them. Will they ever be reunited with their father, will they ever find a home? The plight of refugees from war-torn countries and what it really means to leave everything behind and to start a new life are vividly explored in this unforgettable story.


Libby Gleeson is a highly acclaimed writer who has published more than 30 books for children and teenagers, including Cuddle Time, Half a World Away, and

The Great Bear (with Armin Greder), which  won the prestigious Bologna Ragazzi in 2000. She has been shortlisted for the CBC Awards 12 times.


"Readers will hold their breath with every heart-stopping bump in Mahtab's journey."  —Deborah Ellis, author, The Breadwinner"Subtle, direct, and profound."  —Booklist starred review of Half a World Away