Kiss the Dust, Paperback Book
3 out of 5 (1 rating)


Tara is an ordinary teenager. Although her country, Kurdistan, is caught up in a war, the fighting seems far away.

It hasn't really touched her. Until now. The secret police are closing in. Tara and her family must flee to the mountains with only the few things they can carry.

It is a hard and dangerous journey - but their struggles have only just begun.

Will anywhere feel like home again?


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: General
  • ISBN: 9780230014312

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I've read two other books by this author; The Garbage King and A Little Piece of Ground. I like her writing. However, I did find that this one was slow to get going, and I fear that your typical adolescent reader would give up on the story before it got to the interesting part. Tara is Kurdish, and living in Iraq when her father, who is a resistance fighter, decides that they must flee the country, travel over the mountains and into Iran. Once in Iran, life is not much better, and Laird's description of Tara's life in the holding camp reminded me of several holocaust novels. Her mother is very ill with pneumonia, and isn't able to help clean the bug infested room in which they stay. Her mother is also unable to help make meals with the meagre rations they are given. Tara is forced to grow up almost instantly, for if she doesn't step up and assume responsibility, her mom might die, and her family will suffer. The exciting parts of the book occurred when they were traveling through the mountains and when they were trying to survive in the refugee camps. Eventually, some Kurdish connections enable them to fly to London, and find lodging there. Laird does an excellent job of describing what it might feel like to be a refugee; the confusion, the desperation, the fatigue, the anger, the frustration... the reader experiences it all through Tara's eyes. I would only recommend this book to a strong adolescent reader who was interested in knowing what a refugee might have felt like. Readers who liked Diary of Ann Frank might enjoy this novel.