Visit NPR to read more about why these books resonate for children and adults. These two were written more than sixty years apart, but the theme they tackle is a bittersweet one that is always timely, one that should be pondered upon and discussed. Two children along with their families move to a new land hoping for a better life only to come face-to-face with trying to adjust in a new world while still longing for the freedoms (literally and figuratively) of their old worlds. Told through the eyes of two children, each tale covers some weighty themes such as loss, adversity, discrimination, the meaning of family, fear, remorse; but they also tackle sticking up for what's right and forgiveness and making amends. In The Hundred Dresses, taunting, teasing and bullying are all pertinent subjects to be mulled over with a child.
I can't yet say much about Shooting Kabul because we haven't cracked the cover yet (or, rather, turned on the gizmo to begin reading). We are halfway done with The Hundred Dresses; it is designated for children ages six and up, so the reading is pretty straightforward and it will go quickly, but I feel it is one worth reading together slowly and purposefully.
NPR has good monthly recommendations for books via it's Backseat Book Club. You may wish to bookmark their page, follow along with some of the books and pose questions about the book together that can be submitted to NPR. At the end of each month some of those questions will be answered by respective authors on NPR's All Things Considered.
Listening to NPR just makes me feel good - like I'm in good hands.
Update: A few days later we are about five chapters into Shooting Kabul and both of us are following along eagerly; I went back and edited this post a bit to help it better reflect this story, too. Wow. The Kite Runner would be an excellent adult book to accompany this read to help understand the forces at work in Afghanistan, to conjure plenty of imagery of what once was a beautiful, nostalgic place, and to contradict racism and stereotyping. There is room here in the world for ALL of us.