Saving Kabul Corner
Naheed Hasnat Senzai
©2014 Naheed Hasnat Senzai
Simon & Schuster
A young Afghan-American girl named Ariana is faced with the opportunity to solve a mystery when her family’s grocery store, Kabul Corner, is broken into. Was it the neighboring rival grocery store attempting to take them down? Arianna puts her differences with her friends and family aside in order to work together to solve the mystery.
Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).
Suggested Delivery: This would be a great read aloud for 3rd or 4th grade, as well as a strong independent read for 4th or 5th grade.
A great resource to support this book would be to introduce it using the video link found here. This video uses photos, maps, and other images to give the reader a preview of what happens in the book.
Having students navigate and explore Afghan woman Humaira Ghilzai’s blog about Afghan food markets in the United States, found here would be a great way to build the students’ sense of what the story is referring to when talking about the Afghan grocery store in the story.
- Vocabulary is an essential part to reading. This book would serve as a great tool to instruct and direct students towards using the glossary located at the back of the book, as many of the words within are not in English. Dividing the class into small groups to foster discussions regarding the meaning behind unknown words would be a great way for students to build upon their ability to infer what an unknown word means.
- Allah- Standard Arabic word for God, used by Muslims as well as Arab Christians
- Halal- Relating to food prepared as prescribed by muslim law, like “Kosher” relates to Jewish law
- Jaan- love, dearest
- Kabul- The capitol and largest city of Afghanistan
- Chastise– to punish or repremand
- Non-Compete Clause- is an agreement where one party agrees not to enter into or start a similar profession or trade in competition with another
- Comprehension is the goal in reading. It is important to focus on comprehension before, during, and after reading a story. The following activities can be done throughout the journey a student takes reading this book in order to support the level of comprehension reached:
- Before reading the story, a great activity for students to develop schema related to the story would be to have them watch the video seen under resources above. This would set the scene for the students and give them visual clues which would support their understand of the text as they read.
- During reading, an activity which would support student comprehension would be to have students pause from the reading after learning about what the store is like, and explore the blog explained above in the resources section. This would give students an idea what a real-life Afghan Supermarket in the United States may look like. Asking students to do a comparison/contrast from what they read in the book to see in the blog would be a great way to check their comprehension skills and have them formulate connections to what they are reading and a realistic example.
- After reading, having students respond to the questions in the back of the book either in a small group discussion or in a written response would be a great way to check their comprehension of what they have read. There are many great questions as well as activities which complement the book nicely. The standards which complement the questions are also written by Senzai. Question 14 would be a nice question to specifically address the end of the novel. (14. Saving Kabul Corner ends with an epilogue. What does the epilogue tell you that wasn’t in the final chapter before it? Why did the author use a newspaper excerpt instead of just describing what happened or having characters discuss it? What incidents in the book led you to believe there might be a newspaper story about what happened?)
- A conclusive writing activity is a great way to wrap up a novel with students. As seen above, the back of the story has a reading guide which contains many great questions that require inferential comprehension. Question 13 would be a great question for a writing activity. (13. Many novels, even if they have chapter titles, don’t have tables of contents. After you’ve read the book, look back at the Table of Contents and consider the chapter titles. What do individual chapter titles convey about the chapter? Looking at the order, do the titles give a sense of how the book flows? Why do you think this particular book includes a Table of Contents? )